The reigning UFC flyweight champion just captured the belt last year with a blistering performance against Joseph Benavidez before successfully defending the title with a first-round submission win over Alex Perez. His first meeting with Moreno ended in a majority draw, which then led to the rematch on Saturday night.
Assuming he’s successful, the Brazilian already has designs on a future move to 135 pounds where he hopes to join the short list of fighters to captured two titles simultaneously in the UFC.
“I’m always looking for the big fights and I want the boss to listen to this one,” Figueiredo said during the UFC 263 pre-fight press conference while addressing UFC president Dana White. “Cause I want him to give me the chance to move up [a weight class]. Cause I want to get that belt.”
While moving up to bantamweight after only one year as champion might seem a little sudden, Figueiredo would actually be following a path forged for him by numerous fighters in the past.
Henry Cejudo had only been flyweight champion for 10 months before he moved up to 135 pounds and captured the vacant bantamweight title with a third-round TKO against Marlon Moraes. Meanwhile, Conor McGregor was 11 months removed from becoming the undisputed UFC featherweight champion and that’s when he moved up to 155 pounds to claim the lightweight title as well.
Of course, Figueiredo also has a cut a lot of weight to get down to the 125-pound limit for flyweight right now so perhaps a move up was inevitable anyways.
If he decides to really go after that title, Figueiredo might be looking at a lengthy period of time passing before he gets the chance as current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling isn’t expected back until late 2021 with a rematch against Petr Yan already in his future.
Before he can even start pursuing another UFC title, Figueiredo first has to get through Moreno after the upstart former Ultimate Fighter contender pushed him to the limit in their first meeting six months ago.
According to Figueiredo, the razor-close decision had more to do with his own issues in that fight rather than Moreno putting on the performance of a lifetime to almost beat him.
“I was sick in the first fight,” Figueiredo revealed. “I wasn’t 100 percent. I was actually fighting at 30 percent but now I’m 100 percent and I’m going to give my all and you’re going to see what it’s all about.”
Considering the reputation he’s built as one of the best finishers in the flyweight division throughout his career, Figueiredo would like nothing more than to demolish Moreno in the rematch so this time he leaves no doubt about the superior fighter.
In fact, Figueiredo is looking for a very short night at the office this weekend.
“First of all, he talks a lot and I’m going to shut him up,” Figueiredo said about Moreno. “Because I’m going to knock him out in the first round. I’m going to knock you out.”