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Dana White praises ‘absolute savages’ Deiveson Figueiredo, Brandon Moreno after UFC 256 thriller, eyes rematch in 2021

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Looking at the quickest turnaround for a champion and a challenger in UFC history, Dana White had reason to be concerned.

Flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno both scored first-round finishes three weeks ago, but there were no guarantees that they’d be able to perform again at such a high level heading into the UFC 256 main event with relatively little preparation.

As it turns out, there was no reason to worry. Figueiredo and Moreno battled to a spectacular five-round majority draw on Saturday, leaving fans clamoring for another 25 minutes in the future so that the two might settle the score. It was the championship rounds that had White most unsure of booking the title fight so quickly, but he told reporters afterwards that the flyweight stars lived up to the hype and then some.

“I didn’t know, you don’t know,” White said of his expectations for the fight at the evening’s post-fight presser. “Then you start wondering, ‘Well, we’re gonna find out when this thing gets into the fourth and fifth round’ and things like that. Seriously, we throw the word around a lot, but these two are seriously f*ckin’ savages. Both of these guys are absolute savages.”

White compared the fight positively to the Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk strawweight title clash that took place at UFC 248 this past March, which has stood tall as a front-runner for the best fight of 2020.

Asked who he thought had won Saturday’s main event, White said he thought Figueiredo won more rounds (on the final scorecards, Figueiredo was deducted a point for a low blow in the third round). However, he had plenty of good things to say about the toughness of Moreno.

“To the body, to the head, the shots he was taking—It’s funny because leading up to this week he was telling everybody that his hero is [Mexican boxing legend] Julio Cesar Chavez and that’s who he wants—when people remember him and his career—he wants to be remembered like a Julio Cesar Chavez,” White said. “When you look at typical Mexican fighters, [Moreno] is the prototype. He is exactly what you think of when you think of real Mexican fighters. He looked damn good tonight.”

Two years ago, the flyweight division was on the verge of being eliminated from the UFC altogether, so it’s somewhat surprising that Figueiredo and Moreno even had the opportunity to close out a December show, typically one of the stronger efforts of the UFC calendar. In fact, the two were booked for the UFC 256 main event only after several other discussed title fights fell through.

White recalls the near-shuttering of the weight class being due to the fact that as far as he could tell, people didn’t care about it. He credits UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard with revitalizing the division.

“We were talking about that tonight too,” White said. “I gotta give it to Mick. Mick went in and restructured and rebuilt that division and it’s one of the most exciting divisions in the UFC now. Tonight, we put on a potential Fight of the Year and potential greatest fight ever in this division’s history. So congrats to Mick.”

Now that it’s clear that the flyweight division is here to stay, one big question remains: Are Figueiredo and Moreno going to run it back right away?

“You absolutely, positively do that rematch,” White said. “That’s another fun fight for us all to look forward to in 2021.”