Las Vegas, NV – Another opponent yet another trilogy for UFC flyweight Brandon Moreno who faces Alexandre Pantoja for a third time, this one for a title, as the co-main event of UFC 290 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Moreno (21-6) has become a fan favorite on top of being the flyweight champion and with that come opponents who like to talk and try to instigate and build up a fight. Moreno doesn’t really engage in that type of talk.
“Sorry if I’m not this guy who loves to talk sh*t in social media or try to make some drama, but at the end that works for me man,” Moreno told reporters including Cageside Press on Wednesday.
“The people love what I’m doing because it’s real. It’s natural.”
Pantoja (25-5) has been, for the most part, rather respectful in interviews and social media. He did take some jabs at the champion, but nothing so big that Moreno felt the need to respond.
If anything it’s being 0-2 against the challenger with one loss when they competed at The Ultimate Fighter Season 24, and the other just a couple of years later.
“I have nothing personal against Alexandre Pantoja. For sure this competitive part of myself, knowing he beat me twice in the past, gave me a different flavor for sure,” Moreno said.
“But at the same time I’m just thinking about the opportunity man. The opportunity to hey if you beat Alexandre Pantoja in the T-Mobile Arena, International Fight Week, man your legacy. Your legacy man. So I’m just very focused on that last goal to win my next fight.”
The competitive part of Moreno has made him almost obsessed with his preparation. So much so that he said he watched every interview that Pantoja has done leading up to their fight.
“I don’t know how he’s managing this new fight against me because I’ve been watching, like a stalker, all his interviews and everything. I can see, he said no but, I can feel like he’s motivated like ‘Hey I know I beat him. I can do it again.’ I can see it in his face, and in his body language,” Moreno said.
“For me it’s just that competitive part. Man he beat you, but you need to know you are so different.”
Moreno has shown quite the improvement since losing those fights to Pantoja going 6-1 with two draws since the second fight with his rival.
“I don’t like to talk too much about ‘Oh, I’m a different fighter’ and whatever because I don’t even need to talk about it. The people can see it. A lot of fighters say ‘Oh, I’m a different fighter, I changed too much’, but then you watch their fights and they’re (kind of) the same,” he said.
Moreno compared his career to that of former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira who went on an impressive run after dropping some fights early in his UFC career.
“I always put this example. It’s very similar for example with Charles Oliveira. When he came to the UFC he was a kind of, you know a good fighter, winning some fights, losing some fights, then getting some bonuses, then loses again,” said Moreno.
“But then he start to win. And win and win, and everybody was like ‘what happened with this guy? Why he just winning?’. Then he got the title. He lost against Makhachev, but then he got this amazing victory against Beneil Dariush.”
“I think it’s very hard to find examples like that, and I feel like that kind of example. I just changed. I’m just different.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Brandon Moreno above. He defends his title against Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 290 on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena.