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In the famed LL Cool J song, he explains that his mama said to knock his opponent out, and Deiveson Figueiredo has taken that to heart.
On Wednesday, the news broke that Figueiredo (20-2-1) would be meeting Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) for the third time for a championship trilogy. The flyweight battle is set to take place at UFC 269 on Dec. 11 at an undetermined location. Shortly after the initial announcement and subsequent confirmation by manager Wallid Ismail, former Ultimate Fighting Championship champ Figueiredo wanted to weigh in on this upcoming matchup, and he spoke Sherdog about the booking.
“To tell you the truth, I was already training to face Alex Perez again,” the former champ admitted. “I don’t know exactly what happened, but I have to thank [UFC Executive Vice President Hunter Campbell] and my manager Wallid for never giving up, [and] insisting with the trilogy. That’s what I was dreaming about, and also what should be done.”
Figueiredo had trained at Team Alpha Male for his last few camps, but the partnership was no longer possible once former bantamweight king Cody Garbrandt announced his move to 125 pounds. The Brazilian revealed multiple changes to his camp, including that he is relocating down to Belem in Brazil for most of it.
“First, I put someone I trust to run my gym next months, because I want to be focused 100% in my [training],” Figueiredo explained. “Second, I’m bringing more sparring partners. The most important is that I’m eager to bring back the best Deiveson ever for that trilogy. The last two weeks, I’ll finish in Las Vegas, doing an adaptation to the climate with my friend Michel Pereira.”
After analyzing the fight many times, Figueiredo acknowledges that Moreno’s strongest asset may be his jab.
"We are already working out a strategy to neutralize [the jab], but most important is to be aggressive like I was in my first fight,” the Brazilian ex-champ discussed. “Every time Moreno faces aggressive opponents that attack before him, like I did in our first fight, and [Alexandre] Pantoja did twice against him, he has problems. Be sure I’ll bring a lot of problems to him in that third fight.”
Weighing around 155 at the moment, Figueiredo has started his diet to reach 125-pound limit on Dec. 11. His original plan was to start the process of moving back to bantamweight, but pursuit of his flyweight belt put that on hold. He does have designs for the 135-pound category in the future, and he already has a dream matchup in mind: T.J. Dillashaw.
“Our style is pretty much the same. If one day [the] UFC put me against Dillashaw, it [would] be a war.”
On Wednesday, the news also came out that two-time opponent Joseph Benavidez had retired. Figueiredo wanted to speak on that, and firmly believed that the 37-year-old should reconsider his decision.
“When I started, he was already one of the greats of the division,” Figueiredo said. “If we didn’t have fighters like Benavidez and [Henry] Cejudo, flyweight could be over. I have a lot of respect for him, and I believe he is still one of the top guys out there. Fighting is about motivation, of course I respect his decision, but I hope he reconsiders and one day gives me the honor to train with him.”
Figueiredo finished the interview by sending a clear message to his opponent.
“Brandon, you know this was the fight to be done, brother,” the former champ stated. “Train hard, because I will train harder than ever, all days of my life [will be] thinking about you. Be sure I’m going to knock you out. You are not going to face someone out of rhythm that [stood straight] in front of you, like I did last time. You will face the real ‘God of War.’ What I want most in life is to take your head off. Get ready, because all UFC fans want to see that fight and I’m going to knock you out.”
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