One title defense into his championship reign, Deiveson Figueiredo is already emerging as an extremely confident flyweight king.
After claiming the vacant 125-pound belt by choking Joseph Benavidez unconscious inside of a round at UFC Fight Night 172 this past July, Figueiredo tapped out Alex Perez with a guillotine choke 1:57 into Round 1 of the UFC 255 main event on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
According to Figueiredo, it was all part of the plan.
“I know this is my belt. I know I am going to be the champion for a long time,” Figueiredo said through a translator at Saturday’s UFC 255 post-fight press conference. “I have no pressure at all. I come here to do what I told everyone I am going to do: [I’m] going to submit [Moreno] in the first round. I said to everybody, I’m going to finish the fight in the first round. And I finished the fight in the first round.”
Though Figueiredo has a long way to go to match the excellence of former champ Demetrious Johnson, the Brazilian already appears to be the type of performer who could potentially draw more eyes to the flyweight division.
“This kid is so much different,” UFC president Dana White said. “He’s mean. This kid’s mean. He comes in with bad intentions, and he looks like he’s got bad intentions, and I think people gravitate toward those type of fighters more. Let’s see if he can go on a run that can make you a legend.”
Figueiredo will take a step toward solidifying his legacy when he headlines UFC 256 on Dec. 12 against Brandon Moreno, who defeated Brandon Royval in a preliminary matchup on Saturday. The 21-day turnaround will be the quickest in UFC history for a champion in a title fight.
Figueiredo, who missed his first opportunity to claim flyweight gold in February because difficulty on the scales, says that making weight on short notice won’t be an issue. At the very least, Moreno will be in the same boat.
“The pressure I’m going to have (to make) weight he’s going to have,” he said. “We’re in the same spot. It’s a war for both sides. If I’m going to have the pressure, he’s going to have the pressure.”
While Figueiredo received high praise from Dana White, the champion wasn’t pleased that he was snubbed by the promotion for a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.
“I’m the kind of champion who says what I’m going to do and then do it,” Figueiredo said. “And I don’t get the bonus of the night? I said, ‘Hey, Dana, if you really like me, and I fight here, you need to give me the bonus of the night for sure.’ Because I deserve it. I performed. I bring back the excitement for the flyweight [division].”
Figueiredo doesn’t expect to have much trouble with Moreno at UFC 256, and he could be fueled by a little added animosity toward the Mexican fighter.
“I think I’m going to destroy him. I think I’m going to break him just as much, because Brandon Moreno talk a lot of bad things about me,” Figueiredo said. “[I have] a personal problem with Brandon Moreno. I’m going to destroy Brandon Moreno. But the boss shows the desire to see this fight.”
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