Las Vegas, NV — This weekend, UFC flyweight Brandon Moreno will throw down in one of the most important fights of his career, against Jussier Formiga. As is well-known by now, that UFC Brasilia fight will move forward in an empty arena, thanks to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19, the resulting disease.
For Moreno, there is plenty on the line. While Joseph Benavidez may wind up rematching Deiveson Figueiredo for the flyweight title later this year, the winner of Formiga vs. Moreno could very well earn the next title shot.
Those are some big stakes. A week ago, however, Moreno was focused on another passion — mentoring kids. It’s a case where the Mexican fighter is paying it forward.
“When I was a kid, a lot of famous people from my city, like soccer players, just famous people, I don’t remember in what area — they taught us,” Moreno recalled, speaking to Cageside Press alongside fellow UFC star James Krause. “I think that was a very important part of my development as an athlete.”
Hearing stories about sacrifice, discipline, and hard work “inspires these boys,” he said. “If just one guy gets the correct words from us, I think it’s really, really important.”
Moreno spoke to students about his background, as a young fighter in Mexico City. “I grew up in a third-world country where the government doesn’t support athletes. The biggest companies don’t support the athletes. It’s hard to be an MMA athlete there, in Mexico City. It’s too hard.”
But the inspirational message he left with them was “just hard work. Discipline, sacrifice, get my dream, and go forward every day.” If even one of them takes notice, it will be worth it, he told us afterwards. “I’m trying to make an impact for just one kid. I think one kid is a real difference.”
UFC Brasilia takes place this Saturday, March 14 at the Ginásio Nilson Nelson in Brasília, Brazil.