Moreno (20-6-2 MMA, 8-3-2 UFC) captured the interim flyweight title with a body kick finish of Kai Kara-France at UFC 277 in July and is expected to unify the titles with champion Figueiredo (21-2-1 MMA, 10-2-1 UFC) next.
Moreno and Figueiredo have fought three times already. Their first fight was ruled a majority draw. Moreno won the second fight, and Figueiredo edged him out in the trilogy bout to reclaim the title. The UFC announced a return to Rio de Janeiro for UFC 283 on Jan. 21, and Moreno admits he initially was a little skeptical to face Figueiredo in enemy territory. But now he welcomes it.
“Let’s go,” Moreno told MMA Junkie and other reporters at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, where he was a guest fighter. “It’s like ‘Rocky IV,’ man. I want to go to Rio now. First of all, I was like, ‘Ugh, man,’ because it’s hard to go to another far country. I don’t know – like nine-hour flight, then go there different hours, different food. Everything is very hard when you go to a whole different country. But I’m just trying to (look at) the positive things. Now I’m so excited to go to Rio, the ‘Uh vai morrer.’ ‘Rocky IV’ is in my mind right now when the people say Rio.”
Moreno has competed in Brazil once in his career, but it was during the pandemic when the UFC hosted a show behind closed doors in March 2020. When asked about facing the Brazilian fans, Moreno said he’s fully aware of how hostile it can be.
“Don’t forget, I’m from Latin America,” Moreno said. “Definitely, all the fans from Latin America are very passionate – sometimes can be a little bit aggressive. I’m agreeing with that and especially talking about Brazil, they go completely deep with their fighters. They go, ‘You’re going to die,’ ‘Uh vai morrer,’ all that stuff. Right now, I don’t know how to feel about it because the last time I went to Brazil was the first event with the pandemic, so no crowd. But I’ll be ready for that.”