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Brandon Moreno: Deiveson Figueiredo rivalry elevated flyweight division

Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo meet for the fourth time this Saturday in the culmination of a rivalry that might never be matched.

The UFC 283 flyweight championship co-main event marks the first time ever two fighters have competed against one another four times for the promotion. Moreno and Figueiredo are tied at 1-1-1 in the series, with their first fight ending in a majority draw, the second with Moreno submitting Figueiredo in Round 3, and the most recent outing seeing Figueiredo earn a hard-fought decision to finally score that elusive win over “The Assassin Baby.”

A few years ago, the flyweight division looked to no longer be part of the UFC’s plans, so Moreno is aware of how significant the Figueiredo feud has been for the promotion’s smallest male weight class.

“A lot,” Moreno said at UFC 283 media day. “Everything starts with Demetrious [Johnson], with his legacy and what he did in the flyweight division before. He made a statement and a lot of people think he’s the GOAT of mixed martial arts for that. Then Henry Cejudo saved the division against T.J. Dillashaw.

“Now, in the present, I think this rivalry between Deiveson Figueiredo and I is so important for us, for all the flyweight guys. After this Saturday, I want to make a statement of who wants this rivalry, but at the same time I’m just very grateful to share the octagon with Deiveson and make history together.”

It’s worth noting that there’s a chance Moreno and Figueiredo don’t make history this weekend, with top contender Alexandre Pantoja on deck should either co-headliner be forced to withdraw from Saturday’s fight. Figueiredo has had issues making the flyweight limit in the past, but not for any of his three encounters against Moreno.

Pantoja holds two wins over Moreno (one in an exhibition bout on The Ultimate Fighter 24 and one in the UFC), which puts him at the front of the line for whoever holds the belt after UFC 283. Regardless of who Moreno sees in the octagon on Saturday, he has pushed Pantoja and other potential title challenges to the back of his mind for now.

“I know I’m going to fight this Saturday,” Moreno said. “One hundred percent, I don’t care. My goal, I’m talking about history and importance, I want to finish this with Figueiredo this Saturday and then start to watch Pantoja and [Mateus] Nicolau , Manel Kape, the other names. So that’s important for me, but for sure I’m fighting this Saturday.”

Another thing that Moreno is sure about? If he scores another definitive win against Figueiredo, there won’t be a fifth fight.

“The last dance,” Moreno said. “My plan is to make a statement in this one. My plan is to finish Deiveson Figueiredo. I did it before and I know, I feel it, I can do it again. I will and that’s it.

“It’s funny because I understand people maybe when the rumor starts to come, ‘Again these guys?’ but at the same time the people also understand Deiveson and I, we make fireworks inside the octagon. The fight will be awesome, I promise, but that’s it. I don’t want to see this guy again. Right now I’m so happy, I’m excited, I’m ready to fight, but I don’t want to see this guy again.”

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