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Deiveson Figueiredo left nothing to chance at UFC Fight Night 172.
The Brazilian made weight, tested negative for COVID-19 and avoided the type of unintentional fouls that might tarnish a victory. Most importantly, he was absolutely dominant in scoring a first-round submission of Joseph Benavidez to claim the vacant flyweight crown. It’s an opportunity he missed after defeating Benavidez via second-round TKO in February, as a bad weight cut left him ineligible to capture flyweight gold.
With victories in eight of his nine Octagon appearances, Figueiredo has the look of a formidable champion. While there are chances to defend the belt against contenders such as Brandon Moreno and Askar Askarov, “Daico” isn’t against considering more high-profile opponents – including former 125-pound king Demetrious Johnson, who now punches the clock in One Championship.
“That’s definitely a fight that all the fans would want to see, me against Demetrious Johnson,” Figueiredo said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “If the UFC wants to bring him back, I’m gonna be very happy, and I’m gonna knock him out with a lot of pride. Very happy to do that.”
The 32-year-old Brazilian also has interest in facing former two-division champion Henry Cejudo, who retired after besting Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in May. Cejudo, however, has set his sights on reigning 145-pound king Alexander Volkanovski in recent social media posts.
“I’d like to have a fight at 135, you know?” Figueiredo said. “I’d like to be the guy to bring Cejudo back from retirement. I think he was looking for a worthy opponent, and I’m that guy. I’d love to move up and be able to fight him at 135.”
That said, Figueiredo isn’t planning on neglecting his responsibilities as flyweight champion. He just isn’t opposed to accepting other opportunities should they arise.
“Now that I have the belt, I have to train very hard,” Figueiredo said. “I’m the guy that everyone wants to beat, so I’m the guy everyone is looking at. I’m a guy who doesn’t give up ever, so I had to overcome all those hurdles to get here. It was something I had to do.
“I will accept a superfight if they want to give me one. I’ll move up to 135. I want to be a two-division champion but I’m going to defend this belt as well.”