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Deiveson Figueiredo says ‘there’s no way’ he has COVID-19: ‘My body is clean’ for UFC title fight

Deiveson Figueiredo hopes to fly to Abu Dhabi and face Joseph Benavidez on July 18.
Jose Youngs, MMA Fighting

Deiveson Figueiredo is confident he won’t miss his UFC flyweight title bout with Joseph Benavidez on July 18.

“Deus da Guerra” was banned from embarking on the chartered flight that left Sao Paulo to Abu Dhabi on Friday night after testing positive for COVID-19, but says it’s not possible since he already was infected by the virus in his hometown Belem two months ago.

Figueiredo arrived in Sao Paulo earlier this week like every other UFC fighter scheduled to compete on the July 18 and July 25 events in the United Arab Emirates, and stayed quarantined in a hotel room until Friday.

“The result came back positive but there’s no way, it can’t be positive, brother,” Figueiredo told MMA Fighting. “I had COVID two months ago and I’m sure my body is clean, I have the antibodies already. When you have COVID your body creates antibodies, it’s a defense to eliminate the virus.”

Figueiredo’s manager Wallid Ismail told MMA Fighting the flyweight contender will be tested again at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, and expects him to leave to Abu Dhabi the next day if the result comes back negative.

“I did exams before leaving Belem (to Sao Paulo) and it came back negative, you know?” Figueiredo said. “Man, if they insist on this we will try to find other ways to solve this because there’s no way I could have tested positive now. F***, there’s no way.”

Figueiredo earned a shot at the UFC belt after defeating Alexandre Pantoja and Tim Elliot in 2019, but missed weight prior to his championship clash with Benavidez back in February. The UFC opted to book an immediate rematch after Figueiredo won via second-round knockout.

The UFC hasn’t announced what happens if Figueiredo can’t compete on July 18, but Pantoja says he was told by the company he is the backup fighter in case someone withdraws from the main event next Saturday. Pantoja is currently booked to meet Askar Askarov the same day in Abu Dhabi.

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