And the champ wants to have home turf advantage for his eventual title unification bout.
Figueiredo reclaimed the UFC’s 125-pound title with a decision victory over Moreno this past January but is still sidelined with a hand injury. The Brazilian wasn’t happy when the UFC created an interim belt, and is now battling to make sure his next bout is featured in UFC’s return to Brazil, which is expected for the first quarter of 2023.
“My fight is to bring this match to Brazil,” Figueiredo said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca. “Since they’re doing a UFC here, I want to make sure they book my fight for Brazil. I want to fight whoever wins [at UFC 277], whoever that is, to face me here under my crowd.”
Figueiredo’s plans to move up to bantamweight are on hold for now, he said. With Aljamain Sterling booked to defend his throne against T.J. Dillashaw and two possible No. 1 contender bouts scheduled — Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili and Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley — Figueiredo is focused instead on extending his flyweight reign.
“I admit I have the desire to go up to 135,” he said. “I don’t know when, only God knows that. [But] as long as I’m having success at 125 and have someone to challenge me, rest assured that I’ll continue defending what’s mine.”
Figueiredo added that he wants to “go up straight for the belt” when it’s time to test himself at bantamweight, and he doesn’t expect Sterling to be champion once it happens.
“I think it’s a matter of time until he loses this spot,” Figueiredo said of Sterling. “There are some guys that are way better than him. If he collides with Jose Aldo, Jose Aldo knocks him out.
“I’ve observed [Dillashaw] a lot, he’s very strategic and smart. When he fights for the belt again, he will win this title back.”