RIO DE JANEIRO – Brandon Moreno recognizes the UFC flyweight division largely has been held up by his near three-year-long tetralogy with Deiveson Figueiredo.
Saturday at UFC 283, the string of constant rematches seemingly came to an end when Moreno (21-6-2 MMA, 9-3-2 UFC) broke a 1-1-1 tie with Figueiredo (21-3-1 MMA, 10-3-1 UFC) and defeated his four-time foe by third-round TKO due to doctor stoppage.
Now firmly atop the 125-pound mountain once again, Moreno already is being pressed about the future. Moments after he escaped incoming concessions hurled his way by Brazilian fans during his exit, Moreno was approached by top flyweight contender Alexandre Pantoja (25-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC).
“He was very friendly with me, to be honest, and everything to start,” Moreno told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at a post-fight news conference. “He came with me and he said, ‘Hey man, today I feel so happy for you. Congrats for the belt’ or whatever. At that point, everything was fine. There, he started to ask me like, ‘Hey, when is our fight? In two months? In three months? Tell me right now.'”
Moreno laughed at the prospect that he knows all the answers minutes after he won the title. Pantoja was asking the wrong guy.
“Like, I don’t know, to be honest,” Moreno said. “Then he started to look a little bit aggressive, to be honest. My only point was, ‘Let me enjoy today, man. Just give me today. Just let me have this moment with my friends, with my training partners, with my wife, with my manager. Then, we can make another circus on social media with trash talk, if you want. But just give me this moment.’ That was my only point.”
Moreno agreed Pantoja should be the next title challenger in line. In addition to a current three-fight winning streak against top contenders, Pantoja has two wins over Moreno.
“I understand how the line is right now,” Moreno said. “I think for sure Pantoja should fight next for the title. (Matheus) Nicolau is doing an amazing job right now, too, (and) Manel Kape. I think those three guys are the next ones. At the end, I don’t do the decisions. I’m just ready to fight and I’ll be ready for the guy the UFC puts in front.”
Despite their history and somewhat uncomfortable backstage interaction, Moreno said he doesn’t expect the build with Pantoja to get unprofessional or ugly. The two have been cordial through the years, since their time on “The Ultimate Fighter 24,” Moreno indicated.
“I think with Pantoja, we’ll be friends,” Moreno said. “I think right now, he’s very excited and he’s a little bit desperate to get the fight for the title. With all these (rematches) with Deiveson Figueiredo, we started in 2020 and we’re finished in 2023. It’s crazy. I understand the other challengers but I’m ready. Hopefully nothing happened with my knee.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 283.