Francisco Figueiredo wants to climb the flyweight rankings “step by step” and eventually reach the top, and doesn’t think his older brother — the UFC’s 125-pound champion — Deiveson Figueiredo should be there much longer.
Both Figueiredo brothers compete in the same division, with the champion expected to unify titles against interim title holder Brandon Moreno and Francisco facing Amir Albazi at Saturday night’s UFC 278. For “Sniper,” his brother should definitely consider moving up to bantamweight to pursue another belt.
“My brother, if he’s really focused and training right, I don’t see Brandon Moreno beating him,” Figueiredo said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca. “But, to me, and I told him that already, I think there’s nothing left for him to do at 125. I think he should move up to 135 and fight for that belt. I told him to challenge the 135-pound champion, and I’m sure he wins. He has to make history, go up to 135 and leave 125 [for me]. Let me fight the flyweights.”
Figueiredo is confident that his brother would be as successful at bantamweight, finishing reigning champion Aljamain Sterling anywhere. Sterling last defended his throne against Petr Yan, and is slated to face T.J. Dillashaw next in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m sure he submits or knocks out the champion,” Figueiredo said. “His hands are way heavier than that guy’s. We see [Sterling] doesn’t have much of punching power. He has good jiu-jitsu, but [Figueiredo’s] jiu-jitsu is way better than his.”
In the meantime, “Sniper” looks to keep the momentum going after tapping Daniel da Silva in just 78 seconds this past April, bouncing back from a decision defeat to Malcolm Gordon. Albazi, on the other hand, is 2-0 in the UFC with wins over Gordon and Zhalgas Zhumagulov, but hasn’t entered the octagon in 19 months.
“I’m in a great moment, well-trained, and ready to go there and put on a show,” Figueiredo said. “I think Daniel is much more dangerous than this guy I’m about to fight. Daniel has great jiu-jitsu, a striker with great kicks too. [Albazi] has good takedowns and some good submissions too, good boxing, but Daniel was more dangerous than him because he had kicks and was unpredictable.”
Figueiredo got the job done in just over a minute in Las Vegas against da Silva, but won’t expect another quick night at the office this weekend in Salt Lake City.
“You can’t guarantee that, but I’m well-trained,” Figueiredo said. “I worked more on my jiu-jitsu this time around. I give Amir two rounds. I’ll catch him inside two rounds because he’ll try to stand and then take me down, but I’ll submit him if he does that.”