Brandon Moreno is ready to put Deiveson Figueiredo behind him for good.
For the past two years, the UFC flyweight title picture has been dominated by the ongoing rivalry between Moreno and Figueiredo. After they fought to a draw in their first encounter at UFC 256, the two split their next two bouts, leading the UFC’s first ever tetralogy, which takes place at UFC 283.
During that time, the relationship between the two has had peaks and valleys, and as they head into the homestretch of their latest fight, Moreno said things are once again getting chippy.
“It’s very weird – it’s weird because we did the media tour and everything, and it’s always the same,” Moreno told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Since the first fight him in 2020, in Arizona, then in Anaheim, everything is so fake with him, his character and all that stuff. He tries to look like the bad guy. People can’t spot the fakeness with his mask. He attempted to intimidate my here in Rio, November. But I said, “I don’t care man.” What can you do? What can you do?
Moreno said familiarity takes a toll. He believes his performance in the trilogy fight was weakened after focusing on Figueiredo for a year.
So, Moreno argues, having the interim title fight with Kai Kara-France at UFC 277 was a welcome reprieve from the monotony, and it’s giving him a renewed energy heading into a fourth fight with Figueiredo.
” I feel tired but more so in the fight against him,” Moreno stated. He said, “I felt done with him after the fight in Anaheim.” But now, after the fight against Kai Kara-France, I feel like my mind has a new view on my career. I rested a little bit from the same game plan against Deiveson, the same face, the same promotion of this guy trying to intimidate me.
“So of course I’m still tired of him, but I’m excited. I feel a different vibe than the last fight. It is so exciting to face him again, be undisputed champion of the company and add a sticker to my history with this fight .”
Things are still different this time around for Moreno, though. The interim flyweight champion was forced to champ camps during his preparation as a result of the ongoing investigation into James Krause. The fight will take place in Figueiredo’s country, as it is part of Brazil’s first UFC card for almost three years.
Brazil is one of the most notoriously intimidating fan bases in MMA, and Moreno figures to be public enemy No. 1 at UFC 283. But he’s not concerned, and he’s not even so sure that’s true.
“I don’t care,” he said. “The people say that but, first of all, the people feel very comfortable with me. I’m from Latin America, so we share a lot different traditions, how we communicate with each other. Second, Figueiredo doesn’t seem to have a great relationship with Brazilians. So let’s see what happens. Although I am prepared for any scenario that could go wrong, I have no idea what it might be. “I feel that the Brazilian people will support me at the end.”
It doesn’t really matter if the people love him or not. The most important thing is reclaiming the undisputed flyweight title and, hopefully, finishing his rivalry with Figueiredo for good.
“I will finish this guy in the third or fourth round, for sure,” Moreno said. “[Then] I move on with the rest of my life. Don’t worry, guys, Moreno vs. Figueiredo is no more after all this. Let’s make it happen .”
UFC 283 takes place on Jan. 21 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.