Kara-France agrees with UFC President Dana White that fighters fight, and fighters who don’t want to fight get left behind, champion or otherwise.
“Bro, you missed your shot,” said Kara-France, who at UFC 277 rematches Brandon Moreno for the interim UFC flyweight title, on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “Before the fight, you were saying, ‘I don’t want to fight Brandon because he’s been racist,’ and then he’s saying he’s injured. When the offer comes to you, even if you’re the champ, you do have a big say in the fight, but if you don’t want to fight, the UFC aren’t going to wait. That’s just how the business is. If you’re here to fight, then that’s what they’ll do: They’ll match you up.”
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Figueiredo blasted the promotion’s decision to put up the interim belt, calling it a “plastic” award and demanding more money to continue fighting at flyweight, where he’s repeatedly struggled to make weight.
Kara-France said he expected to return to the octagon later this year after a conversation with UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard. When the promotion couldn’t book a fourth fight between Figueiredo and Moreno, however, he was ready when the call came to a fight.
“When they weren’t going to take that fight, I’m ready to go whenever,” he said. “This is how this fight game is – you’ve got to be ready to fight whenever. If you’re injured, then that gives you a little setback. You’ve got to take a risk for a reward. And for Figueiredo, saying all these things and not really committing, that just shows he doesn’t really want to fight, even though he’s the champ.”
Figueiredo, currently on the mend from injuries to both of his hands, said he wanted to move up to the bantamweight division but planned to make three more appearances at flyweight. He questioned the matchup between Moreno, whom he is 1-1-1 against, and Kara-France.
“I’m not looking too far ahead, but once I get past Brandon, we can unify this,” said Kara-France, whose interim title bout takes place on July 30 at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. “We just had the big [George] Kambosas [Jr.] fight in Marvel Stadium [in Melbourne]; I wasn’t there, but I was watching a few teammates, and watching that fight, it was awesome to see Marvel packed out again.
“We could unify the belt in Marvel Stadium this year when he’s healthy and feeling better. But the fight’s going to happen eventually. We haven’t fought each other yet, and this flyweight division’s so small, we will cross paths sooner or later – that’s if he doesn’t go up to bantamweight.”
But Kara-France doesn’t feel at all bad about taking the title opportunity left on the table.
“The division moves forward, and me and Brandon get to square off,” he said. “I thought Brandon won their last fight, so in my eyes, I am fighting the best guy and once I get past Brandon, I can fight ‘Figgy,’ and shut him and his coach up. They talk a lot.”