Brandon Moreno won the UFC interim flyweight title at UFC 277, coming back from a tough round against Kai Kara-France to finish the New Zealander with a perfectly placed liver kick (watch the finish here).
Texas has become Moreno’s home away from home, and the amount of support he gets from fans there is wild. Winning the belt in front of a sold out crowd should have been a perfect moment, but it was slightly marred by the UFC’s decision to have undisputed champion Deiveson Figueiredo enter the cage during Moreno’s post-fight victory speech.
Things got off to an awkward start as Moreno struggled to concentrate on his interview with Figueiredo standing a foot away mean-mugging. In the end it all worked out as “The Assassin Baby” and “God of War” promoted their inevitable quadrilogy with a rousing show of respect. But it certainly could have gone completely sideways, something UFC president Dana White admitted during the UFC 277 post-fight press conference.
“You know what, it was a kind of ‘in the moment’ thing,” White said. “And then when he got up there I was like ‘Well, that was f—ing rude.’ This kid is having his moment and you got Figueiredo standing in his face. But it happened, it wasn’t horrible, and we meant no disrespect to Moreno, but … it came off pretty disrespectful.”
Asked about the moment, Moreno said “I promise, I was ready to throw everything against him in this moment. He was in Dallas since two days ago, I saw him in the lobby in the hotel. I was ready to take the mic, ‘Let’s go motherf—ker, let’s go for the [fourth fight].”
“But … man, everything I said was real. My daughter, my older daughter Madison is eight years old. Now she understands everything. Or not, but she will understand. And I knew I had the opportunity to be a better example for her. I don’t want it for her, her dad doing a stupid thing on television. So I used the spot to say ‘Man, brother, I forgive you for everything and please forgive me if I did something bad against you. But don’t be confused, I want to fight about you.’”
Moreno also said he was perfectly fine with the idea of fighting in Brazil, so long as that schedule didn’t leave him waiting for too long.
“We can go to Brazil,” Moreno said. “The problem is, he said he’d be ready for the winter, for December, and the last pay-per-view of the year is normally in Vegas. So we’ll see what happens in the future. I just want to fight before the end of the year. I’ve just been waiting for him for a long time.”
The UFC is rumored to be headed back to Brazil in December. While it hasn’t been confirmed, there’s already a buzz amongst Brazilian fighters and Figueiredo isn’t the only one to mention the card. Glover Teixeira has also called for a title rematch against Jan Blachowicz there, and Charles Oliveira was hoping he could get on the card as well.
If nothing stops the UFC from being able to return to the country at the end of 2022, a Moreno vs. Figueiredo unification bout would be a great fight to feature.