The only thing their December fight didn’t give us was a definitive winner as after five rounds of back-and-forth action, Figueiredo retained his flyweight title via majority draw. A rematch was inevitable and the two are set to fight again at UFC 263 on June 12 in Glendale, Ariz.
Though the two threw all that they had at each other, they also didn’t have much time to prepare for the fight as both were making a turnaround on less than a month’s notice so that UFC 256 could have a championship main event after a title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns fell through.
This time around, with a proper camp and having 25 minutes of firsthand information on Figueiredo to work with, Moreno predicts he’s going to come forward more.
“Right now my confidence is very, very high,” Moreno said in a recent interview on What the Heck. “I need to be smart, I understand he’s powerful, he’s real, he’s a real opponent, he’s a real fighter, that’s why he’s a champion. But my confidence is very high, I know I can make some really good damage in this next fight against him.
“I can be more aggressive because all my game plan in two weeks was like, be careful, take the time to see the counters, and take care of his power, and that’s it. Right now, I feel his power, I know I can support the damage and I can be more aggressive.”
Moreno has looked like a champion in his second stint with the UFC. He hasn’t lost since re-signing with the promotion in September 2019, first fighting Askar Askarov to a split draw and then rattling off consecutive victories over Kai Kara-France, Jussier Formiga, and Brandon Royval.
Much has been made of the 27-year-old developing into “Brandon Moreno 2.0” and if he’s to be believed, version 3.0 is going to be even better.
“Obviously, everything is just words, but you need to see the next Brandon Moreno,” Moreno said. “I’m trying to stay focused on my conditioning. I want to be stronger than ever, I want to have better cardio than ever, so you need to watch the next fight. I’m working on my body and my conditioning so much.”
Figueiredo has also been on a tear, with wins in five straight fights before his draw with Moreno. “Deus da Guerra” has only lost once in 22 pro bouts and with 17 wins by knockout or submission, he is one of the most consistent finishers at 125 pounds.
Moreno is no stranger to ending fights early himself (he has 10 submission victories and earned his shot at Figueiredo with a first-round finish of Brandon Royval) and he believes that if he can put Figueiredo away at UFC 263, there won’t be a need for a third fight.
“In this kind of situation, the people maybe are waiting for a trilogy?” Moreno said. “But I need to finish this rivalry with this guy. I need to finish this guy. I want to be a champion. I’m working so hard. I’m young, I’m 27 years old, but I have 10 years like a professional, I have 15 years in this sport working so hard, I just dream all night of the belt around my waist. I just need to finish this guy.”
“If the fight is so hard and we go to the fourth, fifth round, but I get the knockout, obviously maybe the people want to see the third fight,” he continued. “But if I can finish this guy in the first one, in the second one, we can finish the rivalry right there.”