Brazil’s Deiveson Figueiredo – nicknamed The God of War – is the reigning UFC Flyweight champion. This weekend, he'll attempt to make his first successful title defense when he faces Alex Perez in the main event of UFC 255. However, despite being one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, Deiveson Figueiredo is somewhat of a mystery to many fans.
That’s because, unlike most of the UFC’s big stars – Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, et al – he’s hardly an outspoken personality. However, Deiveson Figueiredo is still a massively fascinating character, and one who could still catch on with the UFC’s fans if he continues to destroy opponents inside the Octagon.
Here are five things you didn’t know about UFC Flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo.
#1 Deiveson Figueiredo worked a number of jobs before becoming a UFC star
Plenty of UFC stars worked in some random jobs before joining the world’s biggest MMA promotion, but those jobs usually involve some kind of link to fighting. Bouncing, coaching wrestling, and stints in the armed forces and police force tend to be the most common jobs for prospective MMA fighters.
However, that wasn’t the case for Deiveson Figueiredo. The son of a farmer, The God of War, grew up working at his family’s ranch with the animals. He then branched out into multiple other jobs in order to supplement his burgeoning MMA career.
Figueiredo worked as a bricklayer, a hairdresser, and a motorcycle taxi driver in Brazil before signing with the UFC. However, as he explained in a 2017 interview, he quickly gave up those other jobs to pursue UFC greatness once he inked a deal with the world’s biggest MMA promotion.
Three years down the line, it’s safe to say that as the current UFC Flyweight champion, he made the right decision.
#2 If he finishes Alex Perez, he’ll tie a UFC record
The UFC’s Flyweight division hasn’t always been the most popular weight class with fans. That’s largely because, in many ways, casual MMA fans are simply looking for violent finishes rather than displays of incredible fighting skill. A great number of fights at Flyweight, on the other hand, tend to go the distance.
However, Deiveson Figueiredo has been bucking that trend from the day he arrived in the UFC. After debuting with a stoppage of Marco Beltran, The God of War has finished a further five opponents inside the Octagon – Joseph Morales, John Moraga, Tim Elliott, and Joseph Benavidez on two occasions.
In fact, the only two opponents to take Figueiredo the distance were Jared Brooks and Alexandre Pantoja.
One more UFC finish from Figueiredo will tie Demetrious Johnson’s record of seven finishes in Flyweight fights. But if the Brazilian can achieve this against Alex Perez this weekend, he’ll have reached that point in six less fights than Mighty Mouse.
Put simply, there can be no doubt that Deiveson Figueiredo is the most lethal finisher the UFC has ever seen at Flyweight.
#3 He’s trained with some top UFC fighters, including Urijah Faber and Team Alpha Male
When he first came into the world of MMA, Deiveson Figueiredo trained with the famed Marajo Brothers – UFC veterans Iuri and Ildemar Alcantara – in Belem, Brazil. In fact, he was so close to the brothers, whom he met when he was just 16 years old, that when he initially signed with the UFC, he was known as Deiveson Alcantara.
However, unlike current UFC fighters Antonio Arroyo and Amanda Lemos, Figueiredo no longer trains with the Marajo brothers. Instead, he currently heads his own team, but he was actually training with Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male prior to that.
Figueiredo’s move to Team Alpha Male was always a fascinating one, purely because it was the camp that produced one of his greatest opponents in the form of Joseph Benavidez. By the time Figueiredo arrived in California, Benavidez had departed Team Alpha Male for Colorado’s team Elevation.
The two men were matched against one another back in early 2019, which would’ve seen Benavidez forced to face off with his old team. However, Figueiredo was forced out of the fight, and by the time the two squared off in February 2020, The God of War had left Team Alpha Male to form his own camp.
#4 Deiveson Figueiredo is one of the few fighters to miss weight for a UFC title fight
What fact links Deiveson Figueiredo to fellow UFC stars Yoel Romero and Anthony Pettis, as well as former stars Joe Riggs and Travis Lutter? It’s not something to be proud of, unfortunately. This past February, Figueiredo joined the exclusive group of UFC fighters who somehow managed to miss weight for a UFC title bout.
For those who aren’t aware, if a fighter misses weight for a title bout, they become ineligible to win said title. Riggs and Lutter saw their respective UFC title fights with Matt Hughes, and Anderson Silva turned into non-title bouts due to their indiscretions.
Figueiredo’s situation was similar to the latter. In his proposed UFC Flyweight title bout with Joseph Benavidez, he came in at 127.5lbs, 2.5lbs over the division's 125lbs limit. Therefore, only Benavidez was eligible to win the vacant title.
Of course, that didn’t deter Deiveson Figueiredo. Unlike Riggs, Lutter, and Pettis – who were all well beaten after missing weight – the Brazilian followed in Romero's footsteps by knocking his opponent out.
And unlike the Cuban, when he was able to fight for the title after making weight for a rematch with Benavidez, he came good – choking out the veteran to claim the UFC Flyweight title.
#5 He has a brother who also fights professionally in MMA
Over the years, the UFC has seen a number of sets of brothers fighting for the promotion. Ken and Frank Shamrock, Nate and Nick Diaz, Jim and Dan Miller, and Anthony and Sergio Pettis, for instance, all come to mind.
However, a number of fighting brothers have seen just one sibling succeed at the top level of the UFC while the other has been stuck toiling on the regional circuit.
How many UFC fans realize, for instance, that former UFC Light Heavyweight champ Rashad Evans has an older brother named Lance who went 3-4 in his MMA career from 2004 to 2011?
And while Deiveson Figueiredo came up into the UFC under the tutelage of a pair of UFC veteran siblings – Iuri and Ildemar Alcantara – not many UFC fans would know that his younger brother also fights professionally.
That’s partly because his brother didn’t always use the Figueiredo name. Instead, he billed himself as Francisco Sniper Nazareno. But it’s also because, well, Francisco simply isn’t as good a fighter as Deiveson.
His record currently stands at 11-3 with one draw and one No Contest, but he’s never been able to graduate from the Brazilian regional circuit onto the international one. Now that his brother is a UFC champion, though? Perhaps we’ll see Francisco Nazareno given his chance in the future.Published 17 Nov 2020, 18:58 IST