Skip to main content
Brandon Moreno watches his teammate Johnny Munoz warm up backstage during the UFC 265 event
Athletes

Brandon Moreno Manages The Pressure

It wasn’t the way anyone wants to lose a title. But when the scorecards were read at Honda Center in Anaheim in January, Brandon Moreno saw the flyweight belt he had won seven months earlier go back to the man he took it from, Deiveson Figueiredo, by one point on each of the three judges’ scorecards.

48-47, 48-47, 48-47.

A one round finish by knockout or submission might have been easier to deal with for Moreno. Even a five-round shutout would have told the world that it just wasn’t his night. But knowing he was so close to victory in his third fight with the Brazilian and putting their rivalry to rest had to eat at him. Not that he admitted that to anyone. On the other hand, Moreno still takes the loss with grace.

Order UFC 277: Peña vs Nunes 2

“After the fight, when I started to watch all the film, if I stopped respecting him and went forward and put pressure on like the last fight in Arizona, it would be the same history – Brandon Moreno winning the fight,” he said. “But that was my fault. Now I know even if he changes whatever he wants, I can beat him. I just need to believe in myself again.”

“The Assassin Baby” could have dug into the fighter’s handbook of excuses to blame a bad training camp for the defeat.

Brandon Moreno of Mexico prepares to fight Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Brandon Moreno of Mexico prepares to fight Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


He didn’t.

“The last training camp was the hardest training camp of my life, but I lost, and that was very disappointing for me,” Moreno said.

What about dealing with life after becoming the first Mexico native to win a UFC title and all the madness that goes along with it?

Nope, he’s not going there.

UFC 277 EMBEDDED: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4

“I felt some pressure, but when I went to the fight, I was very focused,” Moreno admits.

That class is always appreciated in professional sports, especially since it’s so rare, but it’s not surprising coming from Moreno, who nonetheless did feel some changes were in order so he could move forward in his career. So it was goodbye, Tijuana, and hello, Las Vegas.

UFC 277 Countdown | Moreno vs Kara-France 2
UFC 277 Countdown | Moreno vs Kara-France 2
/

“I love my city, I love my country, but, at some point, I decided to make this decision,” said Moreno, who fought his entire career with the squad at the Entram Gym. “All the UFCs were in Vegas, all the sponsorships, better schools for my daughters, so I did this for my family. That was the main reason.”

As for the fighting, Moreno left his wife and three daughters in Vegas to go to Lee’s Summit, Missouri to train at the Glory MMA and Fitness gym under the tutelage of James Krause.

Here's What's Happening In The Flyweight Division

“The decision was hard at first because I was training in Tijuana all my life,” Moreno said. “But after my last fight I felt that I needed to evolve in this game. A lot of people wanted to put some drama in this, but it’s not drama – it’s just to keep going in my career and to get some evolution in my abilities. And I can feel it right now.”

Krause and Moreno because a solid duo immediately, not just because of the renowned coach’s technical and motivational skills, but because they share a similar approach to the sport.

“I love the passion, and that’s one of the reasons why I love to work with James,” said Moreno. “He’s crazy, he’s very passionate, he’s a nerd of the mixed martial arts, and he’s a hundred percent in this. I love his mentality, and that was another reason I decided to move here. This guy loves the sport the same as me.”

Brandon Moreno of Mexico kicks Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: (L-R) Brandon Moreno of Mexico kicks Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


And when Moreno enters the gym, he’s got those good butterflies lining up in formation in his stomach.

How To Watch UFC 277: Peña vs Nunes 2

“When I go to a practice, I feel nervous again because I’m training with new bodies who are trying to push me, and that’s amazing,” he said.

The push is needed, because Moreno is back to work this weekend in Saturday’s UFC 277 co-main event against former opponent Kai Kara-France. Back in December 2019, Moreno and Kara-France clashed, with the Mexican taking the decision over the New Zealander. Nearly three years later, they meet again in Dallas, this time with the interim world title up for grabs over 25 minutes.

“He proved the evolution of his game and he’s a whole different fighter from the last fight with him,” said Moreno of Kara-France, who has won three in a row, knocking out Rogerio Bontorin and Cody Garbrandt, and decisioning Askar Askarov. “We don’t have any bad blood. I respect him so much and his last performances were amazing. I just want to throw some bombs with him and show who has the best technique in the division.”

RELATED: Coach's Conversation | Brandon Moreno vs Kai Kara-France 2

Moreno is confident he’s the one who will win that battle again, and then it will be off to a fourth bout with the currently sidelined Figueiredo for the undisputed belt. That’s a lot of pressure, but that’s the way Moreno likes it.

“That’s why I’m the best in the flyweight division, because I can manage the pressure, definitely,” he said.

Order UFC 277: Pena vs Nunes 2

UFC 277: Peña vs Nunes, took place on Saturday, July 30, 2022 live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards, and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!