UFC Fight Island 2: White Wants Title Defenses From Figueiredo Before Double-Champ Attempt

Dana White UFC
UFC President Dana White Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

From the show Deiveson Figueiredo put on in Saturday’s UFC Fight Island 2 main event, it’s clear he could be a handful even a weight class up.

Figueiredo, a large, powerful flyweight, knocked opponent Joseph Benavidez down three times in the opening round of their title fight rematch. Towards the end of the first, he latched on with a rear-naked choke and put Benavidez to sleep, earning the 125lb championship in the process.

It’s been a long road getting to that point for “Daico.” Especially after missing weight for the pair’s first title fight back in February. But redemption was earned Saturday as well as the title.

Of course, these days, just one title never seems to be enough. “Champ-champ” status is all the rage, thanks to Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, and the like. Henry Cejudo did it at flyweight and bantamweight, and Figueiredo is looking to follow in his footsteps.

Dana White, however, is urging caution. “I’d like to see him defend his title a couple times,” he said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “Maybe if he defends his title a couple times, that would be interesting.”

Of course, that is far from ruling out the idea. And White was bullish on what he saw from Figueiredo in that title fight. “Pure Violence. No controversy on this one. We have pretty nasty champions in those two divisions now [flyweight and bantamweight].”

The performance also removed any shred of doubt that might have been left after Figueiredo and Benavidez’s first meeting. “Ton of controversy in the first fight, from weight to head butts. No controversy in this one,” White observed. “This guy came in and did what he said he was going to do against the number two-ranked guy in the world. And he looked damn good doing it.”

White wasn’t ready to commit to naming a challenger for Figueiredo just yet, bringing out the usual line about not making fights the night of an event. Which means he wasn’t ready to give Askar Askarov the nod, even after he defeated main event back-up Alexandre Pantoja.

There may be good reason for that. Also in the running would be Brandon Moreno, who Askarov fought to a draw with in September of last year. Both fighters have won two fights since that meeting.