Moreno: Figueiredo 'needs to fight again' to earn title shot
Brandon Moreno isn't ruling out a third fight with Deiveson Figueiredo if it's what the UFC wants, but the flyweight champion believes his rival needs to put in some work to earn a title shot.
"The next name? I don't know," Moreno said Tuesday, according to ESPN's Marc Raimondi. "There are a lot of possibilities. I think it's obvious Figueiredo wants the next one because he lost the last one.
"But man, last fight I dominated him since the first minutes of the first round. I dominated him in the striking, in grappling, in wrestling. Obviously, I'm open to fight again with him. But I think he needs to fight again with somebody (else)."
Moreno, 27, took the 125-pound title from Figueiredo with a third-round submission victory at UFC 263 on June 12. The two also fought in December, with Figueiredo retaining his belt thanks to a majority draw.
Figueiredo asked for a trilogy bout with Moreno shortly after the loss, but the 33-year-old also expressed interest in moving up to bantamweight after a history of challenging cuts to flyweight.
Aside from Figueiredo, there appears to be no natural first challenger for Moreno, the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history.
No. 2 flyweight Askar Askarov recently pulled out of his July fight with No. 4 Alex Perez. Perez, meanwhile, is unlikely to get another title shot soon after falling to Figueiredo in November.
No. 3 Alexandre Pantoja won a unanimous decision victory over Moreno in 2018 but is 2-2 in his last four fights.
Former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt has been speculated as a potential option for Moreno. Garbrant was set to move down to 125 pounds to fight Figueiredo for the title in 2020 but was forced to drop out due to COVID-19.
While Garbrandt has won only one of his last five fights, Moreno remains intrigued by the attention the former champion can draw.
"Cody Garbrandt wants to come to the division," Moreno said. "It's a huge fight because I know he's not in the best part of his career but he's a good name. He's a former champ. He has a really good brand behind him. He's an option."
Moreno added that he's looking to return to the Octagon in November regardless of his opponent.