New undisputed Flyweight champion, Brandon Moreno, had to deal with a lot of aggressive vibes throughout UFC 283 fight week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Not only was his opponent, Deiveson Figueiredo, trying to get under his skin as their fourth fight approached, but the crowd inside Jeunesse Arena was openly hostile toward Moreno from the start.
It only got worse after Moreno won the fight off a punch that appeared (at first) to perhaps be an eye poke. Figueiredo reacted like he’d just been poked and his eye would swell shut, ending the fight between the third and fourth rounds. Moreno was mercilessly booed as his win was announced, and then the champion had to be rushed out of the arena as people threw drinks and trash at him.
“The Assassin Baby” laughed off the disrespect, but then he had to deal with even more negativity from No. 1-ranked contender, Alexandre Pantoja. Footage of the two sharing some respect backstage surfaced, but did not capture the ugly turn it took immediately afterward.
“He came at me and he was very friendly with me, to be honest when everything started,” Moreno said at UFC 283’s post-fight press conference. “He came to me and said, ‘Hey man, today I feel so happy for you, congrats for the belt,’ whatever, and at that point everything was fine. Then he started to ask me ‘When is our fight? In two months? Three months? Tell me right now!’ Like I don’t know, to be honest, you know?
“Then he started to look a little bit aggressive, to be honest,” he continued. “But, my only point was let me enjoy it today. Give me today. Let me have this moment with my friends, with my training partners, with my wife, with my manager. And then we can make another fight with the social media and the trash talk, if you want. But just give me this moment, that was my only point.
“I think right now, he’s very excited and he’s a little bit desperate to get the fight for the title because with all this rivalry with Deiveson Figueiredo, we started in 2020 and we finished in 2023,” he added. “It’s crazy, I understand the other challengers.”
Pantoja also happens to have some pretty extensive in-cage history with Moreno. The two have already fought twice before: once on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 24 in 2016 and again two years later at UFC Fight Night 129.
“The Cannibal” won both fights, even managing to choke out Moreno on TUF.
Of course, the Moreno of 2023 is very different from the one Pantoja last fought five years ago, so it’s a very interesting fight — one Moreno hopes will take place in Mexico.
“I think as a Mexican, we deserve a pay-per-view again in Mexico City,” Moreno said. “I think right now we have an amazing position where Yair Rodriguez is fighting in February, Alexa Grasso is fighting in March, and nothing is official but Irene Aldana looks like a really clear possibility for Amanda [Nunes]. So I think this is the year for the Mexicans in mixed martial arts. I’m excited.
“For sure, I want to go there,” he concluded.
For complete UFC 283 results and coverage click here.