Many fighters choose to leave Brazil to seek better training overseas. For Deiveson Figueiredo, that experience turned out to be the worst.
The flyweight talent had trained at Team Alpha Male for a few weeks prior to his win over John Moraga last year. Following a unanimous decision loss to top-ranked flyweight Jussier Formiga in March, “Daico” felt the need to dial it back.
“I decided to stay in Brazil this time to stay closer to my roots,” Figueiredo told MMA Fighting ahead of his UFC 240 clash with Alexandre Pantoja in Edmonton, Canada, Saturday night. “It’s not that training outside of Brazil is bad — it’s not, it’s great —, but I needed to go back to my roots to train jiu-jitsu and sharpen my muay thai.”
Training outside of Brazil also represented a huge cost for the Belem native. At the same time, Figueiredo opened his own gym in his hometown, so it all made sense to stay closer to home. Add that to the side-effects of his pubis injury, preventing him from doing cardio, and it was the recipe for disaster.
“I didn’t have a team when I fought Formiga,” said Figueiredo, who says he arrived at Alpha Male six weeks before the fight. “I only had a boxing coach and a conditioning coach, and I couldn’t even train properly, I could only swim.”
Training at Team Figueiredo for UFC 240, he feels the UFC still sees potential in him after matching him up against Pantoja, who’s riding a three-fight winning streak against Brandon Moreno, Ulka Sasaki and Wilson Reis. With Joseph Benavidez likely next for a shot at Henry Cejudo for the 125-pound gold in the UFC, Figueiredo thinks this match will prove “who’s ready for a title shot”.
At first, “Daico” thought that a win over Pantoja could earn him a rematch with his American Top Team teammate Formiga. Now, after watching Formiga lose by knockout to Benavidez, he’s not so interested in a chance to avenge that defeat.
“Maybe this win gives me leverage for a rematch with Formiga… If that’s what I want,” Figueiredo said. “This rematch doesn’t really interest me right now. What interests me is fighting someone who’s coming off wins.”
When the cage closes Saturday, Figueiredo predicts fireworks at Rogers Place.
“We’re both strikers, he also had a jiu-jitsu background, so this is a good match-up,” Figueiredo said. “Man, if he comes to play my game I’ll knock him out. This fight has everything to end in the first round. I’m prepared to end this fight in the first round.”