Brandon Moreno may have never followed Michael Jordan’s basketball career, but the UFC flyweight champion is drawing a ton of inspiration from MJ heading into his trilogy bout with Deiveson Figueiredo tomorrow night (Sat., Jan. 22, 2022) at UFC 270 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Saturday’s trilogy fight will be a massive opportunity for Moreno to not only put the finishing touches on his rivalry with Figueiredo, but also to put his stamp on the flyweight division. Moreno is an extremely likeable fighter who never quits inside of the cage, which is one of the reasons why he is so beloved. Retaining his flyweight title this weekend will only increase his stock heading into a long 2022.
That said, Figueiredo looked like a perennial champion before his two encounters with Moreno so it’s going to take everything Moreno has to defeat the Brazilian once more. While becoming champion can sometimes make a fighter content Moreno has been doing his best to improve his skills inside and outside of the cage. That’s why he was attracted to Jordan and all of the hard work and dedication MJ harnessed in order to become a great basketball player.
“I need to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of basketball,” Moreno told MMA Fighting. “[The sport is] very fun. I like to watch it, I don’t have a team, but I started to learn the history of Michael Jordan from The Last Dance.
“Then I started to investigate a little more about Michael Jordan and my manager Jason [House] told me about the book Winning from Tim Grover, the personal trainer of Michael Jordan. I read the book, the ideas about how hard he worked, how he was in his regular life, the obsession to win everything. That, to me, was something different — and it was very inspirational to me.”
Moreno, who is unbeaten since 2018, could have matched up against a slew of different contenders for his first title defense, but opted to fight Figueiredo for a third time after “Deus Da Guerra” began to call him out. Moreno is looking to do more than he did in the second fight and put an end to their trilogy once and for all.
“Figueiredo liked to talk like, ‘This guy is scared of me, he don’t want to give me the trilogy.’ But man, I was just waiting for the name, literally,” Moreno said. “The first name the UFC gave me was Figueiredo and I said ‘yes’ in that moment, because I just wanted to fight.
“At first I was a little surprised. But at the end of the day, the first fight was incredible, second fight was total domination, but maybe the trilogy can be nice to finish the job and put Deiveson Figueiredo in the 135-pound division.”
Following his loss to Moreno, Figueiredo switched camps to train with Henry Cejudo and seemed to gas the rivalry up a bit to give him an advantage in the third fight. Moreno isn’t buying any of it and feels ready to expose Figueiredo inside of the Octagon.
“You know what’s the most sad part? I don’t have any rivalries with anybody,” Moreno explained. “He’s trying to do some [stuff], man, it’s so funny to me. At this point, I’m just thinking about the fight. I need to be very sharp — as sharp as the last fight — and I just need to put pressure on him like before.
“Obviously, he’s trying to do something for this one because he needs to do it, but this training camp was so hard and I feel so ready. I could fight him right now. I just need to make the weight, but I’m ready.”
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