Current UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo is scheduled to defend his title for the first time Saturday night and to him, this is just the beginning. The “God of War,” who won the vacant title in July when he defeated Joseph Benavidez, will meet No. 4 ranked flyweight Alex Perez in the main event of UFC 255 on November 21.
Figueiredo (19-1) was originally set to fight former bantamweight champion Cody Gardbrandt, however “No Love” pulled out of the fight due to injury and was replaced by Perez. Perez is on a three-fight win streak and is 11-1 in his last 12 bouts. He is coming off a victory over Jussier Formiga, the fighter responsible for the God of War’s only defeat.
The change in opponent hasn’t fazed the champion. In an interview with Heavy, Figueiredo said he’s feeling strong days out from the fight and his weight cut is going very well. On Tuesday, the Brazilian weighed 136 pounds, much lower than he typically walks around at four days before a match. The God of War is feeling faster and more versatile than ever before, putting in hard work preparing for Garbrandt.
Figueiredo views Garbrandt as a much quicker fighter than Perez and plans to work for a dominant finish. The God of War told Heavy he predicts catching Perez in a submission — as a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Figueiredo owns seven victories via submission, with his most recent coming in his last fight against Benavidez, putting the American to sleep with a rear-naked choke.
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Figueiredo Plans to Challenge for the Bantamweight Championship at Some Point in His Career
This will be Figueiredo’s first time headlining a UFC pay-per-view. However, the God of War isn’t feeling any extra pressure going into the event. He is viewing UFC 255 as just another fight and with Figueiredo’s experience headlining smaller cards, he’s not letting any extra emotion get inside his head.
The God of War also expects to be in bigger and bigger fights as his career progresses as he is eyeing the UFC bantamweight title. Should he defeat Perez on Saturday night, the God of War still wants to fight Garbrandt after No Love recovers from his injury. Garbrandt suffered a bicep tear and he told MMA Fighting that he hopes to be ready to fight by the end of December.
However, Figueiredo also told Heavy that by the end of 2021, he hopes to be close to a bantamweight title shot as the flyweight champion.
There have only been four champions in UFC history to simultaneously hold two divisional titles, including Henry Cejudo who was the bantamweight and flyweight champion. Figueiredo hopes to join that illustrious list.
The God of War said that he matches up well with current bantamweight champion Petr Yan and has dreams of becoming a double champ.
“Petr is a great striker and is a great fighter but I think I would win because I’m a more complete fighter,” Figueiredo said. ” I would probably take Yan to the ground and finish him.”
After UFC 255, the God of War would like to take some time off as Saturday will mark his fourth fight in just over 13 months. He told Heavy that he would like to return in June or July of 2021 and by the end of that year, hopes to be in striking distance of the bantamweight strap.
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If He Wins at UFC 255, the God of War Said He Should Be ‘Fighter of the Year’
It’s the time of year when fans and analysts start debating among each other about who should be considered “Fighter of the Year.” In 2019, UFC welterweight star Jorge Masvidal was considered by many as the Fighter of the Year, and in 2018, former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier was the consensus pick.
However, 2020 has many athletes in the mix, including the likes of rising star Khamzat Chimaev, light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and middleweight contender Kevin Holland.
Figueiredo is another name at the top of the list for Fighter of the Year, and if he defeats Perez on November 21 at UFC 255, he may have done enough to leap past his competition. The God of War will have fought three times in 2020, defeating Benavidez twice, earning the vacant flyweight title, as well as defending it against a top contender, Perez.
Figueiredo told Heavy that should he defeat Perez, he believes his fighting style “has everything to do with the title” and he should “definitely” be Fighter of the Year.