And that Moreno knows it.
Not only does the UFC 283 co-main event mark a flyweight championship tetralogy between the two best fighters in the division, but Moreno is the only opponent Figueiredo has had since their first meeting back in December 2020. Two of their fights went to decision (the other ended halfway through the third round), so Figueiredo and Moreno have plenty of data on one another and had plenty of time to get in each other’s heads.
“I’m Brandon’s nightmare,” Figueiredo said via a Portuguese translator at UFC 283 media day on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, this is the only fight that the UFC has to sell, Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno.”
Moreno has had one different opponent during his feud with Figueiredo, Kai Kara-France at UFC 270 this past July. “The Assassin Baby” scored a second win over Kara-France to earn an interim title and set up another shot at Figueiredo.
With their first fighting taking place over two years ago, Figueiredo believes there is one key difference from when they battled to a draw at UFC 256.
“I think the biggest difference is his fear of me,” Figueiredo said. “He can’t stand me and that’s what makes the biggest difference.”
On Saturday, Figueiredo competes in his home country of Brazil since February 2018, when he was making just his third UFC appearance. He expects the Rio de Janeiro crowd to be out in full force to support him, another factor that he sees playing in his favor.
“For sure, Brandon’s a kid who is psychologically, mentally weak,” Figueiredo said. “So fighting with the crowd behind me is not going to be good for him.”
Just going by the numbers, Figueiredo and Moreno’s rivalry is as close as it gets, with the first fight ending in a majority draw, the second ending in a submission victory for Moreno, and the third ending with a unanimous decision nod for Figueiredo. Both bouts that went to the scorecards were hotly contested for all five rounds.
At this point, it’s unclear what new wrinkles either man could show to disrupt their opponent, but Figueiredo plans to stick with what brought him victory last time.
“There’s always a strategy,” Figueiredo said. “I think he’s going to come into a game plan to stop my strategy, which is what I beat him with in the third fight, but that strategy from the third fight is a lot more refined now for myself as well.”