September 25, 2023
Brandon Moreno confirms pre-existing knee injury entering UFC 283, hopeful for summer return
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Fighters entering bouts with undisclosed injuries is nothing new, but it isn’t always the case that their opponents stumble upon the injury so soon. Brandon Moreno fought at UFC 283 with a compromised knee — the same knee that Deiveson Figueiredo attacked in the opening round.

Moreno emerged victorious in UFC’s first quadrilogy, defeating Figueiredo via third-round doctor stoppage to complete their championship saga 2-1-1. Moreno was generally in control of the fight but found himself threatened by a heel hook that Figueiredo applied in the late stages of Round 1. Contrary to its name, the heel hook attacks the knee ligaments with devastating effectiveness.

“I had a knee injury in the training camp,” Moreno told CBS Sports. “I think the next day I went to get stem cells and that worked well. Stem cells hurt way too much, they hurt a lot, but I didn’t have too much time to lose so that’s why I put the stem cells in my knee. In the first round against Figgy in this last fight, he went for a heel hook and he attacked the same knee. I’m not going to lie to you, it wasn’t comfortable and I was a little bit scared at that moment.

“I ran backstage while fans threw things at me — that moment was very funny — but I was backstage with the doctor and even at that moment everything was fine. Once my body started to cool down, the pain started to come. Right now I feel very comfortable. Right now I can walk but I feel a little pain.”

Check out the full interview with Jamahal Hill below.

Moreno’s solace from fighting Figueiredo four times is likely a third fight against No. 2 ranked flyweight contender Alexandre Pantoja. The two first fought in an exhibition bout on “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2016 with Pantoja picking up a submission win. Their first recorded pro fight was in May 2018, when Pantoja won a lopsided decision that preceded Moreno’s brief UFC release. Moreno understands why Pantoja may feel “desperate” for a title shot. After all, the flyweight division was essentially gridlocked while Moreno and Figueiredo duked it out over four consecutive years. Moreno wants ample time to recover both physically and mentally from the stresses of the fourth meeting with Figueiredo before diving into another championship training camp.

“I want to fight maybe in June,” Moreno said. “That would be very good for me. That gives me enough time to rest my body and rest my mind, and at the same time to get ready for the fight and have a good and complete training camp for the next fight. But — right now it’s just a rumor and it’s nothing official — what if UFC wants to make a UFC pay-per-view event in Mexico City, maybe in September when it’s [Mexican Independence Day]? I don’t want to wait until September, but if it’s to bring mixed martial arts back to Mexico then I can wait for sure.”