Figueiredo and Moreno are 1-1-1 against each other, and although there is a lot of interest from the UFC and MMA community in a fourth bout to settle the score, that won’t happen next. Instead, Moreno and Kai Kara-France will duel for the interim 125-pound strap at UFC 277 on July 30.
Figueiredo told MMA Fighting in March that both his hands were injured and that late 2022 is when he’d likely step back inside the Octagon. Moreno recently spoke with MMA Junkie and the Mexican fighter said he believes that the “God of War” is making “excuses” to avoid a fourth fight.
“Look, anyone can make their own conclusions, but what I think is that he’s been making excuses since the beginning and he hasn’t stopped,” said via the outlet. “He even tried to say I’m racist and those type of things. I feel like after that didn’t work for him, he had no choice but to say I’m injured and I can’t fight.
“Not to make a whole thing out of it, but he was ready to fight me this past pay-per-view event in May (UFC 274), but he asked for a lot of money and UFC denied him. That’s when the excuses started. If the guy is truly injured, speedy recovery, all the best to him. But if he’s not, I think a lot of people are thinking the same thing. So I don’t know, I think it’s very cowardly from his part, but whatever.
“My goal right now is to close that chapter with Deiveson (Figueiredo) and give that respect that Kai (Kara-France) deserves because he’s a very dangerous opponent.”
Moreno Thinks Figueiredo Is ‘Self-Sabotaging Himself’
“The Assassin Baby” continued with his thoughts on Figueiredo. Moreno sees the Brazilian as “not that smart” and that the flyweight champion has been seeking advice from people that are “sabotaging” him.
“Look, from all the people I speak about this around the situation and everyone I’ve discussed this with, we’ve gotten to the conclusion that he’s not a bad person,” Moreno said. “I just think he’s not that smart, let’s just say. I think he surrounds himself with people who think they’re smart, but at the end of the day, regardless of how good of a person you are, you’re the one that makes your decisions, you know what I mean?
“At the end of the day, that’s what’s going to represent you and that’s how the world is going to perceive you. If he’s listening to people around him, I think they’re self-sabotaging him bad, very bad. And that’s the problem when you get together with people who think they know it all. I’ve always said it – it’s easier when you recognize you’re dumb.
“I think I’m dumb. I’ll admit it and I’m not ashamed of it and I’m happier that way. But I don’t pretend to know it all and I try to learn something new every day. But there’s people that think they know it all and that’s when the mistakes come in. Again, I think he’s self-sabotaging himself, but that’s his problem.”
Moreno Said It’s ‘Refreshing’ to Fight Someone New
Moreno’s last three fights in the UFC were against Figueiredo. In their first clash in December 2020, the contest ended in a draw after the God of War was deducted a point due to an illegal blow.
They rematched in June 2021 and Moreno took Figueiredo’s belt via third-round rear-naked choke. The promotion decided to run the fight back again, and the God of War earned a unanimous decision over Moreno at UFC 270 in January 2022.
The Assassin Baby told MMA Junkie that “it’s tiring” to fight the same person over and over, so his his title tilt against Kai Kara-France is “refreshing.”
“One-hundred percent and I’m sure it’s not only me, probably him (Figueiredo) too,” Moreno said. “I’m sure from both sides, we don’t want to see each other anymore. It’s tiring. So when they presented the opportunity to fight Kai, I was like, ‘Oh ok. That’s refreshing. Something new,’ and new in air quotes because I fought him in 2019, but yeah. After three consecutive fights with the guy, a new face is something new. I feel very good and I’m optimistic about the challenge.”