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Brandon Moreno respects Henry Cejudo, but calls cornering of Deiveson Figueiredo an act of ‘revenge’

Brandon Moreno has a theory on why he saw Henry Cejudo in his opponent’s corner at UFC 270.

The former two-division UFC champion served as a coach and cornerman for Deiveson Figueiredo ahead of the Brazilian’s trilogy bout with Moreno on Saturday, and he was there to celebrate when Figueiredo won back the flyweight title with a thrilling unanimous decision victory.

Moreno and Cejudo had previously trained together, but Moreno later trained with Joseph Benavidez ahead of Benavidez’s split decision win over Cejudo in December 2016. That history added drama to Moreno and Figueiredo’s third meeting, with Figueiredo going as far as to say that he would “take off Brandon Moreno’s head” for Cejudo to make up for the perceived slight.

On The MMA Hour on Wednesday, Moreno explained the difference between him working with Benavidez and Cejudo deciding to prepare Figueiredo to fight Moreno.

“I don’t have nothing to clear with him,” Moreno said when asked about Cejudo. “I don’t hate the guy, I respect the guy. He said I’m a traitor, but I just want to say when I went with Joseph Benavidez, it was for necessity. When I did that I was alone, I didn’t have my team in Tijuana, my team in Arizona was training with other guys, and I was alone. It was a professional career [move], because anybody cares about my family, anybody can say something and put his opinion, but in the moment you need to make decisions. I’m putting my family in front. I don’t give a f*ck, nothing more, just my family, just my daughters, just my wife.

“When I went to Joseph Benavidez, it was for necessity. This guy is doing this not for necessity. It’s for revenge. So even with that, I respect the guy, and hopefully he will be a nice family guy, and hopefully he feels fine if he is a family guy like that.”

Three days after his title fight loss, Moreno appeared to be in good spirits, which is consistent with how he has carried himself before and after winning the title and now after finding himself once again in the contenders’ circle.

Even with the possibility of a fourth fight looming and the pre-fight comments that swirled around the competitive third meeting, Moreno isn’t letting that take away from his memory of walking out in front of a rabid and supportive crowd in Anaheim, Calif.

“When I walked to the octagon and started to watch all the Mexican flags, all the people, like, ‘Man, what happened with this energy? This is crazy,’” Moreno said. “That’s why I feel so locked in at some points because I never tried to do this in my life.

“I’m just trying to be real in my normal life, just trying to enjoy the journey with all the obstacles and all the good things and I never needed to do some trash talk or be a bad guy with somebody, put some drama in my life. That’s why I love this because the people can recognize who I am and they love that and that’s amazing.”

After the fight, Figueiredo called Moreno a “crybaby” in response to Moreno suggesting that the scorecards should have gone the other way. Figueiredo had plenty to say about Moreno in the lead-up to the fight so the post-fight shot was unsurprising.

Moreno laughed the insult off and suggested that Figueiredo’s new persona may have more to do with those around him than his own actual attitude.

“I say this before, so again I feel the same, I really think he’s a nice guy,” Moreno said. “He’s a good person, but with crazy and bad people around him who say, ‘You need to sell the fight’ and, ‘You need to say this, you need to say that.’ Even at the press conference, he looks very fake, all the trash talk. That’s why I was like, ‘Man, what are you doing? Why are you trying so hard to impress all the people here?’

“Like I said before, I don’t need that in my life. I prefer to be real with the people. This is what I am. Love me or hate me, but it’s this and that’s it.”