In preparation for his trilogy bout with Brandon Moreno at UFC 270 this Saturday, Figueiredo trained with Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling and a former UFC champion at both 125 and 135 pounds. If Figueiredo can avenge his previous loss to Moreno, he will regain the flyweight championship. If his boast at Wednesday’s media day is to be taken seriously, he’ll also bring Cejudo a piece of Moreno as a trophy.
“Everybody knows Moreno [was] at Fight Ready [with Cejudo in the past],” Figueiredo said via Portuguese translation. “He trained at Fight Ready. He trained with Cejudo. He trained with all of the coaches over there.
“It is going to be a pleasure to take off Brandon Moreno’s head and give it to Cejudo, because he betrayed Cejudo. Brandon Moreno lived in Cejudo’s house for about two years, and after that [went] to [Joseph] Benavidez to help Benavidez to fight against Cejudo. Now is the time for revenge. He’s going to take the head off of Brandon Moreno and give to Cejudo as revenge for betraying Cejudo.”
Cejudo, who retired from competition in 2020, suffered just two losses in his MMA career, one of which was a split decision loss to Benavidez.
Figueiredo cited Cejudo and the Fight Ready team as being a key difference as he prepares to fight Moreno a third time, and he looks to be in the best condition of his life just days away from UFC 270.
“What I do now is very professional,” Figueiredo said. “This is the bottom line. I have the best coaches at Fight Ready, the best nutrition. The PI takes care of my food for about four months. I feel in the best shape of my life. I’m a professional. All the support I have in this camp is amazing. I’m happy right now.”
With Saturday’s event taking place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif, Figueiredo was asked if he expected the city’s large Hispanic population to play a factor, as they could lean towards Mexico’s Moreno. He answered that he does not let those outside distractions affect him, citing an incident with one of Moreno’s cornermen, Marcelo Rojo, ahead of their second fight at UFC 263.
In an Instagram post, Rojo used a filter to depict Figueiredo as a monkey, a racist insult that is commonly directed at Brazilians in Rojo’s home country of Argentina. Rojo later apologized for the post.
“The last time there were some bad words against me, but I really don’t care,” Figueiredo said. “They’re his words, I give a f*ck about what the guys think. I’m here to get my belt back and show my power. I have focus and determination to get my belt back, and repeat, I [don’t] give a f*ck who is cheering against me.”
José Youngs contributed to this story.