Brandon Moreno had to make a quick pivot when the James Krause situation played out.
Late this past year, Krause had his Nevada athletic license suspended pending an investigation into betting irregularities surrounding Darrick Minner’s fight with Shayilan Nuerdanbieke at UFC Vegas 64. Shortly afterward, the UFC took the additional step of prohibiting any fighters associating with him from participating in UFC events until the investigations are resolved.
That put Moreno, who moved to Kansas City in June to start working with Krause, in a bit of a bind because he was preparing for his flyweight title tetralogy with Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 283. Speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, he explained exactly how he found out about the ban and how quickly he was able to change course.
“It was hard when everything started,” Moreno said. “Of course it was hard. Actually, I was in Kansas City. ... so I had a long conversation with James. He told me the whole situation, and I understood. But in that moment, I decided to turn the page quickly and decide what I wanted to do. I remember the news was out Wednesday or Thursday, so next Monday I was in Vegas.”
“It was hard, but the good part — obviously a lot of bad things happened — but the good part, the game plan was already done.”
With Krause out of the picture, Moreno instead spent his training camp working at Xtreme Couture and new head coach Sayif Saud. Saud is the head of the Dallas-based Fortis MMA, which isn’t in Las Vegas, but Moreno said when he was making his preparations for Figueiredo, his team knew something was missing. So they reached out to Saud, and after working with him for a bit, the interim flyweight champion found a good fit.
“I was ready to go by myself with my coaches, go straight to Rio and take the fight,” Moreno said. “Because I promise, maybe it’s because I’m excited, but man, I’m ready to fight. All this training camp I felt like this was the best training camp of my life. It was hard, but at the same time, a very smart training camp.
“So I was ready fight, but I was talking with Jason and we had a deep conversation. Like, ‘Hey man, I understand you feel ready to fight, and you are ready to go with your coaches, but I feel like we need somebody with experience, because you never know what can happen in the middle of the fight. Something bad can happen in the middle of the fight so you need guys with experience to calm the situation down. A guy with experience, a guy who keeps his mind very cold and gives you the best instructions based off the situation.’ So there I decided to work with Sayif, the coach from Fortis MMA. ...
“I started to talk with him and he was like, ‘Hey man, I don’t want any credit. I don’t want nothing. I just want to help, because I know all the hard work [you have] put in for this fight. ... Even for the friendship I have for James, I just want to help.’ So I decided to try [it out]. One day he came to Vegas, we trained together, he told me all his thoughts about the fight, his mentality about the game plan and all the stuff, and I feel very comfortable with him. It was very simple to work with him. I decided to work with him, and we closed this training camp in the best way possible. My sparring looks very sharp, my cardio’s on point, I have a few tricks for Deiveson in the next fight, so I’m ready.”
For the time being, Moreno has not made any plans about his longterm training future. After moving to Kansas City and Glory MMA in June, and then moving again to Las Vegas, he said he isn’t ready to make yet another move to Dallas, at least not at the moment. There’s also the possibility that the ban on training with Krause will get lifted. He previously posted to his social media hoping for that outcome, and should it happen, “The Assassin Baby” does not rule out a return to working with Krause.
“You never know right now,” Moreno said. “The situation is very serious. I did that post because I love him. I love James Krause. When I needed help, he helped me a lot. He opened his home with his family and helped me with the gym, with training, and we got the interim title together.
“So I love James Krause. And I said this before, at the end of the day, if he did that, that was bad, and he will need to pay in the future. But if not, hopefully [they] can put everything in order and clear his name. I just need to wait. It’s about time, I think.”
In the meantime, the bulk of Moreno’s attention is going toward his flyweight unification bout against Figueiredo, which takes place next Saturday, Jan. 21, in Rio de Janeiro.