Brandon Moreno on Life as UFC Champion, Targeting a Fall Return

New UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno is looking to stay grounded as he surveys the division and targets a November return.

What is life like for MMA’s new favorite underdog?  “The Assassin Baby” Brandon Moreno says that it is more the people around him who are having more day-to-day reactions to his newfound title and fame than he is.  It is was be expected.  Last month, Moreno won the UFC flyweight title with a dominant performance against dangerous champion Deiveson Figueiredo.  The victory was the culmination of a run that saw him come up short on The Ultimate Fighter, be cut from the UFC when it was looking to eliminate the flyweight division, to now returning to the company and putting together a win-streak that has led to the ultimate prize in the sport.

“I went to Tijuana a couple days ago and even my training partners went ‘Hey champ! Come on!’ and here in the gym is no champ. There is Brandon Marino. We can keep working and that’s it. So yeah, I have special treatment right now. I like it. Obviously I try to enjoy it but at the same time trying to be focused on me. I’m Brandon. I’m the same guy as always.  I have this one (points at title belt) and it’s pretty and the people love it. That’s it.”

Now over a month since his seminal victory, the time has come for the new champion to begin speculating his next move.  Moreno says he is targeting either an October or November return, preferably in November if he has his way.  Currently, UFC 267 is scheduled to take place in October in Abu Dhabi while UFC 268 is expected to take place in November and there is speculation that New York is the targeted location.

As for who the opponent will be for his first title defense, that is a more muddled question.  Moreno has rather recently already fought all of the other contenders currently comprising the title picture.  While he acknowledges that it could well be a familiar foe across from him, he is also entertaining the arrival of a former champion from another weight class.

“I think it’s obvious Figueiredo wants the next one because he lost the last one, but man, last time I dominated him since the first minute of the first round. I dominated him in the striking, in the grappling, so obviously I’m open to fight him, but I think he needs to fight with somebody else…Cody Garbrandt wants to come to the division, that’s a huge fight,” Moreno said. “I know he’s not in the best part of his career, but he’s a good name and he has really good brand behind him. He’s an option. The fight between Pantoja and Royval can be a possibility. Obviously Askar Askarov, but he had an injury in his hand and he’s out for like five months. I don’t know what’s happening with him.”