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Brandon Moreno hopes to get Figueiredo-Perez winner, become first Mexican-born UFC champ

Brandon Moreno has his sights set on UFC gold despite recent obstacles.

Moreno, a native of Tijuana, Mexico, remains hopeful in his quest to get a hold of the UFC flyweight championship as he prepares for his bout against Brandon Royval next week at UFC 255. On that same night in the main event, 125-pound champion Deiveson Figueiredo defends his belt against Alex Perez, who replaced an injured Cody Garbrandt leaving his original booking with Moreno.

Moreno (17-5-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) thought he’d be in Perez’s position at UFC 255 as he’s ranked No. 2 in the UFC’s official rankings and Perez No. 4. However, the UFC called upon Perez, leaving Moreno with short-notice replacement Royval.

Despite not getting the title shot, Moreno’s plans remain firm.

“I’ve always wanted to prove something, and I always step in the cage to make a statement,” Moreno said in Spanish on this week’s episode of Hablemos MMA. “I want to make that night mine.

“I want my fight to be over, win, and be like, you know what? Turn off your TV because the main event just went down, and you guys didn’t even realize it. You guys can leave happy because the good fight just happened.”

Moreno last fought in March when he outpointed long-time contender Jussier Formiga. The Mexican fighter is unbeaten in his last four bouts with a controversial draw against Askar Askarov in 2019.

Moreno expects Figueiredo to retain his belt on Nov. 21.

“I think Figueiredo is going to win, but Alex Perez can surprise,” Moreno said. “In such a complex and beautiful sport like this one, I think Alex Perez can win. Starting with his wrestling game, Deiveson previously lost to Formiga, and what did Formiga do? Take his time, take him down, control him, and win the fight via decision.

“Maybe something like that Alex Perez can do since he’s got good wrestling and very good control on the ground, but Deiveson has shown he’s evolved in a surprising manner. He hits super hard. He’s a rock – you can’t break him. We saw how Alex Perez defeated Formiga staying in front and being valiant, but I don’t think that’s something you can do with Figueiredo because Figueiredo is a different animal. You can’t break him. I think there are different ways to beat him, but we’ll see. It’s going to be an interesting fight.”

Moreno is hoping to get the next title shot with a win over Royval. He’s indifferent on who leaves with the belt at UFC 255 but does find a successful title defense from Figueiredo is good for business.

“To be honest, I don’t care,” Moreno said. “But if he wins, he’ll establish himself more as champion, and when I beat him, people are going to know I beat a hard rival, and that’s what’s best for me.

“Like I said, I don’t fight for titles. I want to beat the best, and if Figueiredo wins people are going to know I beat the real champion at 125 pounds. I’m going to be the first 100 percent Mexican champion in the UFC. That’s my clear goal in my mind.”

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