Speaking on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, Figueiredo explained why the former two-division UFC king wants to be by his side for his trilogy match with Moreno, who trained with Cejudo in the past.
“Brandon Moreno is dirty — that’s all I have to say about him,” Figueiredo said. “He’s dirty. He’s a traitor. When I came to Scottsdale, [Ariz. at the Fight Ready gym,] Henry Cejudo told me about his betrayal. He lived with Henry Cejudo here and then became [Joseph] Benavidez’s sparring partner to fight Cejudo, so that was his biggest betrayal.
“That’s why Cejudo is coming with me [to the fight], to look into his eyes. Cejudo will be in my corner to look at this little punk’s face, and I’ll knock him out. Mark my words.”
Figueiredo once targeted Cejudo as a potential opponent, but now he said he sees him as a “brother.” Figueiredo feels healthier and more confident after doing an entire camp alongside Cejudo and Eric Albarracin in Arizona, and is walking around under 137 pounds just 12 days before the official weigh-ins — 10 pounds lighter than for previous UFC bouts.
“I’m glad to have him by my side,” said Figueiredo, who previously fought to a draw with Moreno before losing the rematch via submission. “That gives me self-confidence. I’m 100 percent focused on this fight, brother. I can’t wait to go back to Brazil and take this belt with me. The fire is burning inside me to enter that octagon and get over with it already.”
Figueiredo said training with Cejudo has taught him “patience and calm.”
“Every predator is calm and patience before he attacks the prey,” Figueiredo said. “I’ve always wanted to go for the kill from start to finish. I got in there to knock them out.”
Figueiredo wants to reclaim the UFC belt he held for almost a year, and believes his former rival turned teammate could get another one for his collection too. A former flyweight and bantamweight titleholder, Cejudo has been calling for a shot at UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski for months, especially now that Max Holloway is unable to face him, however the promotion ultimately went a different direction.
Cejudo announced his retirement from MMA after scoring his sixth straight victory in the UFC when he stopped Dominick Cruz in the second round of their bantamweight championship bout in 2020. In his prior appearances, Cejudo finished Marlon Moraes and T.J. Dillashaw, and dethroned legendary champion Demetrious Johnson.
“Just be patient, and [the UFC] will give him the fight and the purse he’s asking for,” Figueiredo said. “He deserves it, too. Guy has a name. It’s all about numbers, right? He’s working non-stop, staying in shape. He’s moved up a division, so he can’t look thin like people think, he has to adapt to this new weight. Numbers will decide. Lock the cage [if they ever reach a deal] and he’ll be there inside the octagon.”