Deiveson Figueiredo unhappy with interim ‘plastic belt,’ says UFC must increase pay to keep him at flyweight

Deiveson Figueiredo first won the UFC flyweight title in Abu Dhabi. | Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

The UFC has decided to crown an interim flyweight champion while Deiveson Figueiredo recovers from the injuries to both of his hands, and “Deus da Guerra” wasn’t happy to hear about the upcoming clash between Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France being set for UFC 277 in July 30.

Figueiredo last defended his throne on Jan. 22, defeating Moreno via decision in an exciting bonus-winning contest at UFC 270, and told MMA Fighting “it’s a joke what they’ve done.”

“I’m very upset, and I’ll send the UFC all the exams I have that prove my injury, because I’ve heard that they haven’t received these documents,” said Figueiredo, who believes the UFC decided in favor of an interim belt meaning they don’t fully believe he needs to be sidelined until October or November.

“Of course that’s what happened, man,” he said. “I think there was some miscommunication, the UFC was supposed to get these documents that prove my injury, but, from what I’ve heard, the UFC hasn’t received it. They could’ve reached out to me to know if I was ok instead of booking a fight for an interim belt.

“That was bullshit. I’ve saved a main event in the UFC, doing the quickest turnaround in the history of the UFC as a champion, and now I’m getting ripped off. The belt is mine. There’s no other belt, except for this plastic belt, this joke they’re doing between Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France.”

The Brazilian flyweight is so upset with the call he’s considering leaving the division for good. One thing that can keep him at 125 pounds, he said, is throwing more money in his pocket.

“I don’t rule out this option. It’s up to the UFC,” Figueiredo said. “If we have a chat and they can increase my earnings inside the organization, then I’ll stay in the division. But, if nothing happens, I’ll be forced to move up. I’ll stay in the flyweight [division] if they increase my purse.

“I already wanted [to move up] but still wanted to fight three more fights in the division. With this decision [to create an interim title], they’ve made my decision to go up sooner 95 percent more likely.”

Whether or not the interim belt is valid is water under the bridge now. And even though “Deus da Guerra” picks Kara-France to beat Moreno in July, he thinks the UFC should have picked another man to face the Mexican talent.

“They’re two guys who are at the top, but I think they put the wrong guy to fight Brandon Moreno,” Figueiredo said. “I think the guy to fight him should be [Alexandre] Pantoja. I don’t know what happens with the UFC, we don’t see them valuing Pantoja. They don’t give the opportunity to a good fighter like Pantoja.”

It remains to be seen if Figueiredo will share the cage with Moreno, Kara-France or a bantamweight when he makes his return to the octagon later this year. One thing is for sure, though: he vows to “never enter a war while injured.”

“I wanna be 100 percent,” he said. “I’m the champion, and if I’m 100 percent, rest assured that it won’t be easy to take this belt from me.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *