Brandon Moreno is 'sick' of Deiveson Figueiredo, wants to finish him again at UFC 270
Brandon Moreno tells Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole that he's ready for a war in his trilogy fight versus Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 270, but his ultimate goal is to get the finish and never see his face again.
KEVIN IOLE: I am Kevin Iole. Welcome to Yahoo Sports. And my guest right now is the UFC champion, a guy who has really taken the world by storm, won the title last year, looking to defend it in a trilogy against Deiveson Figueiredo down at Anaheim at UFC 270. Brandon, how are you, my friend?
BRANDON MORENO: Let's go. Kevin, I'm amazing. Obviously, right now I'm cutting weight. I need food. I feel amazing. Thank you for your time, too.
KEVIN IOLE: You really have become-- grown a lot in popularity ever since you won the championship. And I think people really admired the way you handled that. What has the ride been like as a world champion? Was it what you expected it would be?
BRANDON MORENO: Yeah, and maybe more. Definitely the responsibility, getting the belt is bigger than I expected. And obviously, the pressure of the people, because maybe for guys from other popular countries in this sport, like the United States, like Brazil, like maybe even Russia, they have so many athletes. So they don't have too much importance sometimes.
But I mean, I'm the first Mexican-born champion in the UFC. So I have a lot of pressure on every single day. And obviously, it's hard to manage that.
But at the same time, I'm enjoying too much my life. And I understand the new chapter of my life right now is harder than before. But I'm ready. I'm ready to this challenge.
KEVIN IOLE: I'm a season ticket holder for the NHL Vegas Golden Knight. So one day I'm sitting there. And they announce before the game, Brandon Moreno are going to crank the siren.
And then they also have you now-- I'm sure you know you're welcome to the fortress. So you're the first person that pops up before the game. So you're getting yourself out there.
BRANDON MORENO: Hey, that's part of all of this new life. It's amazing. The opportunities to know different things. I mean, it was my first time in a hockey game. And it was nice, you know, all day.
The production and the lights and the arena was amazing. And obviously, another benefit in my regular day, that part is amazing. And I'm so happy to have those kinds of experiences.
But at the same time again, I have another responsibilities. And it's fine because I understood that before. And right now I feel like I'm managing everything very well.
KEVIN IOLE: Let's talk a little bit about your fights. Going from the first fight with Deiveson to the second fight, what was the difference? What did you do in that off time that enabled you to get over the hump and win that fight?
BRANDON MORENO: The difference between the first one and the second one was-- in the first one, I don't know what can be expected from Figueiredo. OK, in that moment, everybody was like you know, Figueiredo, he's amazing. Figueiredo's a monster. He can knock you out with just one punch and all that stuff.
And he's amazing in jujitsu. His wrestling is very well rounded, too. And I was like, whoa, OK, I'm fighting for my first title. I'm doing my first title fight against this amazing guy, amazing athlete. So I was like very careful in the fight, just taking too much care about Figueiredo and his abilities.
But in the second one, when I knew everything from the first one, I knew man, I can support the damage. And I can put pressure on him. And I think that was the key of the victory and my confidence in myself for that fight.
KEVIN IOLE: Do you feel like given that-- it was a pretty dominant performance you had last time in the victory that won you the title. Do you feel like you just do the same thing and make him adjust to you? Or do you think you have to add new tricks because he's a veteran guy and has seen a lot of things?
BRANDON MORENO: I'm just trying to think about myself. Like you say, the last fight was a really dominant performance. And with those kind of fights, it's hard to try to find something new to fix. All right, so my focus on my mindset for this training camp was like hey, man, so you need to be ready again. So I put that double effort in my strength and conditioning, for example.
I put a double effort in my cardio and in my strength. And definitely, I have on a game plan. But I mean, my game plan is similar to the last one, like get ready for everything with a lot of reflex. And [INAUDIBLE] try to be always on him, putting pressure.
KEVIN IOLE: Do you worry at all-- he's a big dude. There was some talk that he would move to 135 after the last fight. Obviously, he wanted the trilogy.
Do you have any worry about him with the weight? Because obviously, it's a downer if he doesn't make weight. I know it doesn't affect you specifically. But if he doesn't make weight that becomes a little bit of an issue, doesn't it?
BRANDON MORENO: Man, I mean, if that was an issue with him. Last fight I wasn't scared.
Two minutes before to the end of the weights, he went to a scale. I was like oh my goodness, I almost lost the title there. So yes, I'm just scared. And even I'm scared right now with him [INAUDIBLE] with his weight because he's really big.
And I'm a little bit surprised he wants to keep himself in the flyweight division. I think it's a little mistake. But I mean, it's not-- like I said before, it's not my decision. It's not my team or my training camp. So it's his decision. But yeah, he say he's lighter than the last fight. So hopefully this time he'll go to the skill early.
KEVIN IOLE: What do you make of the comments he's making about Henry Cejudo and saying Henry Cejudo is going to be in his corner? You worked with Henry before. So what do you make of that? Is it just trying to get in your head? Or what do you think it is?
BRANDON MORENO: Oh yeah, 100%. Everything is fake. It's horrible.
I feel like the real cringe when I see all of that. But man, I mean, maybe he's just trying to get some motivation. And it's fine.
If that works for him, go get it. I don't care to be honest. And I don't care because I don't need to say nothing.
I mean, the people can see everything around that team. Everything looks so fake. Everything looks like unreal.
So man, it's not my problem, man. I mean, yes, Cejudo trained with me like long time ago. The last time was 2016, five years ago. So--
KEVIN IOLE: That was before you got cut even?
BRANDON MORENO: [INAUDIBLE] man. Before to go to the UFC for the first time. So yeah, obviously, he knows something about me. But the evolution of this sport and the evolution in my game is completely different than five years ago. So I don't know, man. I mean, if he's doing a game plan in base of the Brandon Moreno of 2016 that is a mistake. But I don't care.
KEVIN IOLE: In 2016, when you thought about your career, did you really believe in your heart of hearts that you would be the UFC champion someday?
BRANDON MORENO: Always, man. The people don't understand the power of the words. But I say to me that like long time ago. Obviously, I don't remember exactly the year.
But when I'm start like a professional, I say I'm going to be champion one day, and that's it. I mean, this famous interview was viral in social media. I don't know when.
But my focus is completely in the title. And the life is crazy, right? Because UFC released me from the company and all that stuff. And I think that's why they all the history of my life is more impressive. Because at the end of the day, I did it. And that's amazing. And it's hard, but I did it.
KEVIN IOLE: I'm trying to think back in UFC history. I don't believe there's been another UFC champion that ever had been cut from the promotion and then later won the championship. There have been some that have been cut after they won the championship, but not before. And that's probably maybe in my mind maybe your greatest accomplishment, coming back and winning after what happened previously.
BRANDON MORENO: Yeah, I mean, and I think the history and the significance of all of that. So I know that history is like, Khabib, like this invincible guy, who is amazing. He's like a God in the mixed martial arts.
That is an amazing history. But my history, I think that the people can see that history in his own life, a real guy who is trying to do something and a lot of obstacles in the way. But at the end of the day with a lot of perseverance and discipline, he did what he said. And I think that the people can watch that [INAUDIBLE] in his own life.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, it can relate a lot more easily. I can't relate to Khabib. But Brandon Moreno getting cut and coming back and winning, you can relate to that, no doubt. Hey, Brandon, let's wrap up. Two last things.
Number one, how do you see the fight ending? Do you think you get another finish? What is your outlook on how it will go?
BRANDON MORENO: I'm always very honest with myself. The guy is angry and hungry. He want to do something different on this one.
And I'm prepared for that. I'm really prepared for another war if it's necessary. But the goal is to finish this guy and don't see his face again because I'm sick of this guy, man.
I'm sick of this guy. I'm sick of his fake world. So I just want to finish this guy again and move the page to the other contender.
KEVIN IOLE: And a lot [INAUDIBLE] I would ask you is you been doing a lot of announcing on the UFC's Spanish broadcasts. And I wonder what-- the flyweight divisions, for years, the UFC was trying to get some traction in the flyweight division. It seems like it's finally gotten it. And there's a lot of good guys out there.
Let's assume for the sake of argument that you beat Figueiredo at UFC 270, who do you have your eye on as the next title challenger?
BRANDON MORENO: Oh, I mean, right now I'm very focused on Figueiredo. But I know Oscar [INAUDIBLE] is there. He has an important fight against Kai Kara-France, Kara-France, who beat Cody Garbrandt in his last performance. He looks impressive.
Obviously, Cody Garbrandt is not right now in the best part of his career. But you know, he's an [? A. ?] I studied Pantoja, who beat me twice before. I [INAUDIBLE] there, too.
So man, after Figueiredo, I know new challengers are coming for my head. So I need to keep working hard because I have the target in my back.
KEVIN IOLE: Well, January 22, UFC 270. I look forward to seeing you, Brandon. Thank you for your time. Congratulations on all your success and continued success to you.
BRANDON MORENO: Thank you so much, Kevin. Have an amazing day.
KEVIN IOLE: You, too.