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Morning Report: Henry Cejudo says Deiveson Figueiredo is ‘babysitting’ his belt, picks Brandon Moreno to become new champion

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In 2018, the UFC flyweight division was in dire straits. Though they had a long-time, dominant champion in Demetrious Johnson, the division still had not gained traction with the fans and there was open consideration of folding up the division. But after Henry Cejudo won the flyweight title from Johnson, he and other flyweights campaigned to save the division and ultimately, the UFC acquiesced. Shortly afterwards, Cejudo also won the bantamweight title and then chose to vacate his 125 belt, and since then the division was once again in a state of limbo.

All that changed this year though when Deiveson Figueiredo claimed the vacant title with a dominant performance over Joseph Benavidez in July and, earlier this month, defended it for the first time with a two-minute submission victory over Alex Perez at UFC 255. With his spectacular performances thus far this year, Figueiredo has pundits believing he might finally be the guy to make the flyweight division popular and even the former champion has to admit, Figueiredo has been great in 2020.

Speaking with The Schmo over the weekend, Henry Cejudo, who retired from the sport this past summer, reacted to Figueiredo’s recent title defense and, in his own fashion, allowed that the new champion is doing a good job so far.

“The only reason why Deiveson Figueiredo’s there is because of me,” Cejudo said. “To me, he’s the lord of nothing. I’m the one that gave him that position. I’m allowing him to babysit my belt and he’s being a pretty good babysitter in my eyes.”

That he is. Figueiredo is the likely frontrunner for Fighter of the Year for 2020 at this point, and his year isn’t over just yet. Following his quick victory at UFC 255, Figueiredo was rebooked for another title defense at UFC 256 against top-ranked contender Brandon Moreno. It will be the fastest turn around for a champion in UFC history and a win would all but guarantee him the Fighter of the Year title. But Cejudo says we shouldn’t be counting those chickens just yet.

“I’m still a fan of the sport. I enjoy watching these guys but I think more than anything, I’m actually a critic,” Cejudo said of his retirement. “Every time I watch the fights I just look at things the fighters are doing wrong and when I see that, even with Deiveson, this is why I think he’s gonna have a hard time and may potentially even lose to Brandon Moreno. All you have to do with a guy like Deiveson Figueiredo is make him grapple for that first round because he’s cutting a lot of weight. By the time that second, third round hits he’s gonna start having that heavy muscle. So I’m actually gonna pick Brandon Moreno - which, he sucks too - but I’m gonna pick him to beat Deiveson Figueiredo.”

Factoring into his decision could be that Cejudo and Moreno have a history of training together, however, Cejudo really puts his confidence into Moreno down to Figueiredo’s history of struggling with weight cuts and the short turnaround time for the champion.

“It’s because he cuts a lot of weight and he’s gonna feel that,” Cejudo explained. “Remember, it’s not so much the weight, it’s the fatigue that comes in with losing that weight and I still think he’s a little old school with how he does it. So if I was Brandon, I would capitalize on that. We’re gonna have a new flyweight champion. I do believe that Brandon is gonna beat him. Plus, he used to train with me too, but he knows who the boss is.”

Figueiredo defends his title against Moreno in the main even of UFC 256 on Dec. 12.


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VIDEO STEW

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Fight Circus Vol 2: Circus Harder is up for your viewing pleasure.


LISTEN UP

On to the Next One. Matches to make after UFC Vegas 15.

Severe MMA. Discussing UFC Vegas 15, Tyson vs. Jones, and the UFC COVID protocols.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Make it happen.

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Call out accepted, though not sure that timeline works considering Algeo just fought.

Jack Hermansson’s live reaction to the Kevin Holland news.

Robinson’s reaction.

Guess we know what’s next.

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Sport of kings.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Jack Hermansson (21-5) vs. Marvin Vettori (15-3-1); UFC Fight Night, Dec. 5.

Ronaldo Souza (26-8) vs. Kevin Holland (20-5); UFC 256, Dec. 12.

Shane Burgos (13-2) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (12-1-1); UFC 257, Jan. 23.

Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) vs. Diego Ferreira (17-2); UFC Fight Night, Feb. 6.

Poll

For those who watched the boxing this weekend, did you feel you got your money’s worth?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Yes
    (262 votes)
  • 51%
    No
    (279 votes)
541 votes total Vote Now

Clay Guida (35-20) vs. Michael Johnson (19-16); UFC Fight Night, Feb. 6.

Randy Costa (6-1) vs. Trevin Jones (12-6); UFC 259, Mar. 6.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all on Tuesday.


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.