Brandon Moreno scooped plaudits for his daring and action-packed fight with Deiveson Figueiredo at this month’s UFC 256. The ‘Assassin Baby’ went toe-to-toe with the ‘God of War’ to earn a draw. That wasn’t good enough to swipe Figueiredo’s UFC flyweight title, but it likely earned him an immediate rematch and plenty of votes on various Fight of the Year rankings.
However, Moreno doesn’t think his five round war with Figueiredo should top such a list. Instead, he thinks the honours should go to a pair of strawweights who threw down near the beginning of 2020.
Speaking with Danny Segura on the Hablemos MMA podcast, Moreno said, “‘Fight of the Year,’ I think Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk should win – that’s me giving you my personal opinion. But if they gave [Figueiredo and I] that title, that award, I would be very happy. Why not? But me, as a fan, that fight with Joanna and Weili – I got very excited and I think that should be ‘Fight of the Year.’”
Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk headlined UFC 248, which took place on March 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The event was watched by over 15,000 fans in attendance and was the last event to go ahead before the COVID-19 pandemic forced world sports to go behind closed doors.
For Zhang this was her first UFC title defense, having wrested the 115 lb belt from Jessica Andrade with a 42-second TKO in August, 2019. The fight was Jedrzejczyk’s fourth shot at a title. Back in 2015 she won her first title fight, beating Carla Esparza to win the strawweight belt.
She held that belt for two years before losing it Rose Namajunas. Jedrzejczyk unsuccessfully challenged Namajunas in the rematch and then lost out to Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight title.
At UFC 248 Zhang and Jedrzejczyk threw down for 25 straight minutes in a bruising, and highly technical, barn-burner. The fight, which was won by Zhang via split decision, saw Jedrzejczyk display incredible toughness as she fought through an incredible amount of damage. The fight also legitimized Zhang as one of the best, and most thrilling, fighters on the planet.
When it comes to Fight of the Year discussions, the UFC has sided with Moreno. The promotion gave Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk that award last week. The decision-makers at ZUFFA gave second place to Figueiredo vs. Moreno.
Though he doesn’t think his fight was the best of the year, Moreno does think his duel with Figueiredo is worthy of recognition as the UFC’s best ever flyweight fight.
“I think that on a drama level and standpoint, yes [it is the best]” Moreno said. “We can’t discount the technique aspect when Demetrious [Johnson] was fighting. But from a damage and drama standpoint, I’d say yeah, I think it definitely is up there.”
With how exciting their first fight was, many are eagerly anticipating the next time Moreno and Figueiredo step into a cage together. Though a rematch has not been made official, Moreno suggested that it was inevitable that this fight would happen soon and he hinted that it could come as early as April.