Deiveson Figueiredo did not expect to be competing for a belt this weekend. The Brazilian knew if he won the upcoming fight with Joseph Benavidez, he would get his hands on the Flyweight belt - but the interim version, not the undisputed one.
The announcement left Figueiredo happy and surprised
The jiu-jitsu veteran was preparing to fight for the linear belt title with Benavidez, but following a sudden turn of events, he is now a bout away from being crowned the new UFC Flyweight Champion.
"We didn’t expect that Cejudo would have to surrender his belt. I had been asking to face Benavidez for an interim belt, since I was the only suitable opponent for him. Formiga already lost to Benavidez, while I beat Pantoja around the same time. The promotion decided to make ours the fight for the linear belt."
However, since he does have the opportunity now, Figueiredo is not planning on letting it pass.
"I was very happy and surprised when that announcement was made. This proves that God is great. Now is the time. I’ll capture for the championship belt, in Jesus’ name. I’m very ready to fight Benavidez – body and mind."
The two of them were scheduled to fight a year ago, but it did not materialize into a bout, for which Figueiredo is thankful. Not only did he have a bad pelvic injury back then but he also did not have a team of his own. He believes he is now fully prepared to take on Benavidez, and he would be stepping into the Octagon with the goal of knocking his rival out.
"Today, I’m stronger, more complete, and much more prepared to face Benavidez. It’s going to be an amazing fight. I’ll step into the cage with the goal of knocking him out. He’s been talking trash, claiming I was afraid. We’ll settle this on February 29."
Once the title is his, Figueiredo has plans to spend a month in the United States and then pay a visit to those back in Brazil who helped him in the past. Sharing a little about his childhood and how his father abandoned them when he and his siblings were young, Figueiredo said the belt would change not only his own life but that of his family as well.
The fight will take place on February 29 in the main event of UFC Fight Night 169 in Norfolk, Virginia.
Published 26 Feb 2020, 14:13 IST