Brandon Moreno defends his flyweight championship against Deiveson Figueiredo this Saturday at UFC 270.
The fight marks their third straight bout. They fought to a draw in December of 2020 at UFC 256, then Moreno (19-5-2) defeated Figueiredo (20-2-1) in the rematch at UFC 263 last June to capture the belt. Now that he is champion, Moreno plans to piece together a run as memorable as his title win, beginning with this first defense.
“I am focused and preparing for this fight,” says Moreno, who carved out a legacy by becoming the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history. “I want to have the belt for a long, long time, so first I need to defend my title against Figueiredo. And I am ready to do it.”
The son of piñata makers in Tijuana, Moreno brought notoriety to his family by pursuing athletics, a field that had been foreign to his mother and father. His parents shaped the fighter that has caught the attention of the MMA world. They raised him to be hard-working, which has certainly paid off, yet they also illustrated a fighting spirit in their own pursuit of greatness.
“My family’s piñata business in Tijuana, that forever changed our lives,” Moreno says. “We were very poor, but that business changed that. All the hard work behind it, it changed our family’s life.”
Another life-changing moment for the family took place last spring—June 12 to be exact—when Moreno shocked Figueiredo to win the flyweight belt. Despite Figueiredo being the more seasoned, experienced and stronger fighter, he has been unable to put away Moreno in nearly eight full rounds. The underdog Moreno constantly answered every blow, escaping each submission attempt and wore out Figueiredo with a relentless approach.
The role of underdog suits Moreno incredibly well. Even though he enters the bout at 270 as the favorite, he still holds on tightly to that state of mind.
“The underdog mentality is an advantage for me, one that always helps me,” Moreno says. “I want to be the best. I’m working every day to be that, and that mentality makes me work even harder.
“I am working to be the champion for a long time. That I can promise. I’m taking care of all the things I can take care of. There are things in this sport that are out of your control, but I am working so hard and doing everything I can to keep the belt with me.“
Figueiredo presents a number of challenges both on his feet or on the mat, but Moreno has solved him once before and plans to do so again this Saturday. But there are plenty of reasons why Figueiredo was once thought to be the future of the division.
If Moreno can again slay Figueiredo, that opens up a world of possibilities. Full of charisma, he will become the face of the division and potentially even one of UFC’s more recognizable stars. Yet it will take a herculean effort to conquer Figueiredo, which Moreno knows, better than anyone, to be true.
“Taking advantage of all my opportunities, that’s the key to success,” Moreno says. “I am going to prove who I am, and that is the hardest worker. No one will work harder than me.
“I believe in myself. I am ready to do something huge.”