UFC flyweight champ Deiveson Figueiredo almost didn’t make it to his second title defense at UFC 256.
After battling Brandon Moreno to a draw in the main event of Saturday’s pay-per-view event, Figueiredo revealed he suffered a health scare that endangered his fight.
“Last night I had a stomach infection; I was in the hospital until 2 a.m., came here to fight with my stomach full of wind, and didn’t know if I would fight well today, and that’s what happened,” Figueiredo told UFC commentator Joe Rogan in Portuguese. “This fight went the distance, but I really won. Even with a bad stomach, I came here and won, defended what’s mine. I gave my blood with hour and came out with my hands raised.”
Among those by his side was his longtime manager Wallid Ismail, who after the fight posted a video of the flyweight champ being transported back to the hospital for a checkup.
Speaking with MMA Fighting moments after the fight, Ismail indicated the issues were related to Figueiredo’s weight cut, which required him to make 125 pounds for the second time in three weeks, an unprecedented feat among UFC champs, even though there were no issues on the scale.
“He had constipation during weight cut,” Ismail said. “The fight almost didn’t happen. He only fought so the pay-per-view wouldn’t lose the main event. He didn’t even attend the meeting after the [weigh-ins] because he didn’t have a proper rehydration after the weigh-ins. He made weight so easily on Thursday afternoon.”
UFC President Dana White was aware of the champ’s health status and was aware the promotion might loose its main event on Saturday. But after all the twists and turns of 2020, the hiccup, he said, “good luck getting me to flinch at anything.”
“Any time a guy goes to the hospital, you’re in danger,” White said. “Obviously, we gave him [the option], do you want to fight, or do you not want to fight, it’s up to you. He was obviously cleared medically, but he had the option to fight or not fight, and he wanted to fight.”
Thankfully for MMA fans around the world, Figueiredo pushed through and delivered a “Fight of the Year” candidate in the promotion’s final pay-per-view fight of 2020. The champ said he “felt like a champion every single round” and believed he’d won the fight, but he didn’t take issue with a point deduction that cost him the fight on two of three judges scorecards.
“The referee did his job, I poked Moreno’s eye and the kick unfortunately went low even though that’s not what I wanted,” he said. “The referee did his job, but still, after he took the point, I decided to brawl and knock him out right there. But I couldn’t, and thank God I went until the end and gave this spectacle to the fans that are used to seeing my fights being over in the first round. I showed them today that I’m here. If we go past the first round, we’ll fight five rounds until the end. I’ll only leave there on a stretcher.”
With the buzz palpable after UFC 256’s headliner, rematch was the word on everyone’s minds. And while it won’t happen immediately, Figueiredo is willing to take on Moreno a second time.
“If they want to put him in there again for me, rest assured that this time I’ll do the right camp to neutralize his game,” he said. “I’m here for whatever Dana wants me to do. Dana White, I’m at your disposal. I stayed to defend a pay-per-view and had to make weight in less than 20 days again to put on this show. So, Dana, I’m at your disposal. If you want to do the rematch, go for it. [But first] I’ll go home and enjoy my son and my family a little bit, let me breathe a bit because the machine needs it.”