Figueiredo is currently unhappy with the company for scheduling an interim flyweight title fight between Moreno and Kai Kara-France while he is sidelined due to injury. Earlier this week, the champion told the UFC he would leave the division unless they increased his pay, and the man Figueiredo took the belt from thinks that sort of negotiation is crazy.
“I don’t know what he’s thinking right now, [whether] it’s really for the money, or he’s kind of scared,” Moreno told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “I don’t want to say he’s scared — it’s too much trash talk. I’m sick of trash talk with this guy. I’m done with that. But I don’t know. He doesn’t want to fight, and that’s it. I know I have an important matchup against Kara-France, but hopefully I can see him again before the end of the year. He’s saying a lot of different, crazy stuff like, ‘Oh, I want more money and if the UFC doesn’t give me more money, I’m going to go to bantamweight.’
“Like anybody cares, man. Nobody cares. It’s not like he’s moving to 135 and the UFC is going to go, ‘Oh, OK, you’re going to move to 135? I’m going to give you more money now.’”
Moreno and Figueiredo have a long history together, with the two men having fought over the flyweight title three times in the past 18 months. Their first bout was a draw, Moreno submitted Figueiredo in the rematch, and then Figueiredo got his revenge at UFC 270 this January, winning a contentious unanimous decision to reclaim the title.
Originally, the UFC was targeting a fourth fight between the two – a first in the promotion’s history. However, injuries to Figueiredo forced the company to pivot to an interim title, and while Moreno is happy he gets another crack at a belt, it’s obvious that “The Assassin Baby” wishes it was another bout with his rival.
“That was the original plan,” Moreno said. “Everybody wanted that fight. UFC, I wanted that fight, obviously – everybody except Figueiredo. He wanted – I don’t know what he wants, to be honest. But he said no, and I felt a little bit frustrated, because I’m lying to you if I say I’m not here for money, because I love money, too. I love to buy stupid things, but imagine the legacy. Four fights against somebody, the first one in [UFC] history, that sounds amazing.
“Obviously, I’m crossing my fingers to fight him again in the future ... because this history is so different than the other ones. The first one was a draw, I beat him terrible in the second one, [and] the f****** judges in the third one stole my belt. I thought the fourth fight against him would be a very interesting matchup. But it is what it is. I’m just really focusing on my next fight against Kara-France.”
Moreno’s bout with Kara-France will take place on July 30 at UFC 277. Should he manage to win the interim title, and should Figueiredo deign to stay at 125, a unification bout could happen in the fall, when Figueiredo is expected to be able to return. It would be a history-making bout and arguably the biggest fight in flyweight history, and so Moreno is imploring his rival to cool his jets so they can settle their business later this year.
“I’ll be disappointed [if Figueiredo leaves], because just imagine the legacy, the history,” Moreno said. “Wow. If Figueiredo is watching this or watches this in the future, stop saying stupid things. Just wait for me and I’ll see you in the future. More than money, more than whatever, legacy, brother. We can make it together.”