Brandon Moreno may have looked incredible in his undisputed title win this past weekend, but the road to UFC 283 was a bumpy one.
Moreno won a TKO victory in the third round over his long-time opponent Deiveson Figueiredo. This was their fourth encounter in Rio de Janeiro. “The Assassin Baby” delivered one of the best performances of his career in the victory, but along the way, his head coach Sayif Saud of Fortis MMA revealed that Moreno dealt with a lot in fight camp.
“Brandon had a lot of adversity in this camp,” Saud said on The MMA Hour. “Brandon hurt his knee really badly and we kept that a secret. It was not known to anyone. He also had many other issues to contend with [as well]..
“He was really sick last month. For two weeks he had the flu [that was going around]. He’d do rounds and hack his nose. But he wasn’t feeling well .”
Moreno did not sustain any injuries in the actual fight, so it was a pleasant surprise to see Saud’s revelation.
In fact, Saud says it wasn’t just a tweak of the knee.
“It was serious,” Saud said. It popped but the guy would still fight with just one leg. Brandon never thought of a moment when he didn’t fight. That’s the spirit of a champion.
“But we worked through it. He was able to tape his knee [every day],, and we are grateful that he did.
“He didn’t show any signs of mental fatigue or weakness,” Saud said. “The guy is just a tank, so we just powered through it all, and there was some tenuous moments. I had to keep balanced to make sure he didn’t hurt himself more. He’ll run though a wall and do what it takes to get there.
“There were many things that took place in camp, even though the duration was brief .”
When Saud was asked whether Moreno might have pulled out because of his injury, Saud replied that Moreno’s manager Jason House thought that Moreno shouldn’t be competing with all that happened, including the injury and illness as well as James Krause, Moreno’s head coach, being suspended by Nevada Athletic Commission. This effectively prevents him from coaching any UFC fighters.
Saud respects House’s approach, but he also knew that Moreno would overcome any adversity with dignity.
“I told him, ‘It’s the first week, calm down, take a breath,'” Saud explained. “He was just so freaked out and the truth was, and I’ve known Jason for 10 years, I had never seen him that way. Brandon is his priority and Jason won’t be paid if Brandon does not fight.
“The only reason I thought Brandon could fight was because I could see the mindset, and I was like, ‘This kid can overcome this. This is possible. This is possible. We’re not only going to accomplish this but we will do it well
” I believed in Brandon. All of our coaches put so much effort into this. Everybody was committed like a family.”