Longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan speculated during the action-packed title fight that Moreno wasn’t punching because of his broken limb. It was an injured shoulder, however, that Moreno believes slowed him down in the fifth round of a “Fight of the Year” candidate.
“I don’t think it’s broken, but I threw too many jabs, and I felt something in my shoulder,” Moreno said. “After that, I felt amazing. I feel really good, to be honest. [I threw the jab very hard], and something popped in my shoulder. But I think it’s fine.”
At least, that’s the way Moreno felt in the immediate moments after the bout. When his adrenaline subsided, the effects of a five-round battle could no longer be ignored. (He was later transported to a local hospital.)
“To be honest, I feel too much pain in all my body,” Moreno said on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “But at the same time, I feel so happy. I wanted to bring that happiness to my country and my family. But it is what it is. I’m so happy to take this opportunity, and I’m ready to be with my family and kids.”
Both fighters had no reason to feel down after the excitement they delivered at UFC APEX on Saturday night. Even though there was no official winner, UFC President Dana White called the bout the best in flyweight history. Social media was abuzz with praise for the champ and challenger.
A rematch is already planned after the flyweight title fight ended in a majority draw. Both fighters took the bout on extremely short notice after dual wins at UFC 255; Figueiredo defended the belt with a quick submission of Alex Perez and Moreno stopped Brandon Royval. The stress of a second weight cut in three weeks sent Figueiredo to the hospital the night before the bout, he revealed after the fight.
As the title bout went into deep waters, Moreno appeared to build momentum, repeatedly striking the champ with hard combinations and finishing takedowns that denied the champ the chance to land more hard punches. Until the fifth round, it was an extremely close fight, but Moreno said he wasn’t counting on the victory.
“I expected a little bit more power from him,” Moreno said. “Although he has power, it’s obviously, because when he threw punches at my body, I felt it. But I started I get more confidence during the fight. I think I needed to put more pressure in the fifth round, but it is what it is.”
Moreno is on board for the rematch without a doubt, but like Figueiredo, he’ll need time to recover. Depending on the severity of their injuries, it could be well into 2021 before either is ready to fight again.
“[After] the last eight weeks of 2020, I need to rest,” Moreno said. “Figueiredo needs to rest, too. He has all my respect. He’s the champion. Normally, the champion takes a long time to rest. He didn’t. He took the fight. I have too much respect for him.”
No doubt, the two share a bond that can’t be taken away. But Moreno wants a decisive end to their competitive rivalry.
“We need a rematch, for me, for the fans, for Figueiredo, for everybody,” he told Rogan. “For the sport, of course.”