Deiveson Figueiredo hopes to meet former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt down the line — but with a catch.
The UFC flyweight champion was originally scheduled to fight Garbrandt (12-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in the main event of UFC 255 on Saturday in Las Vegas, but injury forced Garbrandt to withdraw. Figueiredo now meets rising contender Alex Perez (24-5 MMA, 6-1 UFC) instead.
Although Figueiredo (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) is not underestimating Perez, he does hope to get rebooked against Garbrandt, but he wants to see “No Love” actually make the weight limit first.
“I hope that fight happens,” Figueiredo said at the UFC 255 media day. “I’m very excited for that fight, but he first needs to prove he can make the weight. Making the weight in this division is very hard, so he needs to prove it. But I’ll be happy to fight Cody in the future.”
At the end of the day, Figueiredo will do as the UFC says and fight Garbrandt in his debut at 125 pounds if successful at UFC 255. But for now, the Brazilian is glad to be defending his title against a flyweight contender in his first defense.
“Garbrandt needs to fight somebody at flyweight, but if Dana (White) really thinks I should fight him or Cejudo, I’ll be ready to fight with whoever,” Figueiredo said. “But I think it’s a good to fight someone in my weight class and I’m happy for this fight against Perez on Saturday. And whoever it would’ve been, Perez or whoever, I’d be happy to fight this Saturday.”
Figueiredo was crowned champion in July when he defeated Joseph Benavidez for the vacant title. Now title holder, the Brazilian hopes to elevate the status of the flyweight division – a weight class snot long ago looked to be on its way out of UFC.
“I’m the lead singer of the flyweight division,” Figueiredo said. “I come to bring excitement to the weight class and I’m going to put on a show on Saturday, that’s for sure. Once again, I’ll prove why out weight class deserves praise.”