As a result of Deiveson Figueiredo’s hand injury, he was unable to secure a fourth consecutive showdown against Brandon Moreno. As a result, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) opted to book an interim Flyweight title fight between Moreno and Kai Kara-France, which will co-headline UFC 277 on July 30, 2022.
That decision left Figueiredo steaming because he has medical documentation proving that he couldn’t make the quick turnaround UFC wanted from him.
“I’m very upset, and I’ll send the UFC all the exams I have that prove my injury, because I’ve heard that they haven’t received these documents,” Figueiredo said in an interview with MMA Fighting. According to the champion, he feels UFC booked the interim title fight for this summer because is was unconvinced he needed to be out until September.
“Of course, that’s what happened, man,” he said. “I think there was some miscommunication — UFC was supposed to get these documents that prove my injury, but, from what I’ve heard, UFC hasn’t received it. They could’ve reached out to me to know if I was okay instead of booking a fight for an interim belt.”
Needless to say, the Brazilian champion wasn’t too happy upon catching wind of the interim title fight news, saying that the belt will be meaningless when all said and done.
“That was bulls—t,” he barked. “I’ve saved a main event in the UFC, doing the quickest turnaround in the history of the UFC as a champion, and now I’m getting ripped off. The belt is mine. There’s no other belt, except for this plastic belt, this joke they’re doing between Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France.”
According to Figueiredo, he was already on the fence about moving up to Bantamweight after a few more fights at 125 pounds. But, given the recent turn of events, he will consider moving up sooner. Furthermore, he says he will only consider staying at Flyweight if the money is right.
“I don’t rule out this option — it’s up to the UFC,” Figueiredo said. “If we have a chat and they can increase my earnings inside the organization, then I’ll stay in the division. But, if nothing happens, I’ll be forced to move up. I’ll stay in the Flyweight [division] if they increase my purse.
“I already wanted [to move up] but still wanted to fight three more fights in the division,” he continued. “With this decision [to create an interim title], they’ve made my decision to go up sooner 95 percent more likely.”
All six of Figueiredo’s previous fights have been for the belt, but walking in straight to a title fight isn't likely at 135 pounds given how stacked that weight class is. As far as his demands for money, that will be an uphill battle because many champions — Jon Jones included — have fought that same fight with little to no success.