This weekend UFC 263 takes place in Glendale, Arizona. In the co-main event, UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo will defend his title against Brandon Moreno.
Figueiredo is undoubtedly one of the UFC’s most dominant champions, but it remains to be seen whether he can beat Demetrious Johnson as the greatest flyweight in UFC history. He still has a way to go to achieve this, but it is definitely possible for him to do so in the future.
With that in mind, here are three things Deiveson Figueiredo could do to top Demetrious Johnson as the UFC’s flyweight GOAT.
# 1 Deiveson Figueredo has to keep defeating his opponents
Given that he managed to finish seven of his UFC flyweight opponents, it seems bizarre to recall that Demetrious Johnson was often referred to as a boring fighter. But that was certainly the criticism of Mighty Mouse during his reign as the UFC flyweight champion.
Johnson has always been a virtuoso fighter. But despite his finishes, his style within the octagon – heavy with takedowns and punctual punches – meant he wasn’t always a fan favorite among UFC believers.
Deiveson Figueiredo, on the other hand, has already made a name for himself as a fan favorite thanks to his wild style in the octagon. The God of War has defeated seven of his flyweight opponents in the UFC. While it took Johnson 14 fights to reach that figure, Figueiredo has already done so in three fewer appearances.
More specifically, Figueiredo also finished three of his opponents in the first round. Johnson managed this feat only twice and did it with Tim Elliott, which Figueiredo completed in just three minutes.
With that in mind, Figueiredo could oust Johnson as the flyweight GOAT of the UFC if he can keep taking down his opponents.
It is questionable that the Brazilian already has a reputation for more exciting fights than Johnson ever had. But getting your opponents out of the octagon before the final buzzer would definitely cement that.
# 2 Deiveson Figueiredo has to defend his UFC flyweight title more than 11 times
Despite his reputation as a boring fighter at times, Demetrious Johnson will no doubt be considered one of the greatest UFC champions of all time. That’s because Mighty Mouse somehow held his UFC flyweight title for a total of six years, making 11 successful title defenses in the process.
No other UFC fighter – not even Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones or Anderson Silva – can boast a comparable record of defending UFC titles in a row.
While Johnson’s critics would have suggested that many of these defenses were against less than outstanding opponents, a fighter can only defeat the enemy in front of him.
One way Deiveson Figueiredo could cement himself as the UFC flyweight GOAT ahead of Johnson, of course, would be to break his record and defend his UFC flyweight crown more than 11 times.
Could such an achievement be possible? It will certainly not be easy, especially since the God of War is already 33 years old – seven years older than Johnson at the beginning of his title reign.
But then again, at the speed at which Deiveson Figueiredo is fighting, breaking that record is not impossible. After all, the Brazilian fought four times in 2020 and in less than a year as a champion he already had two successful defenses behind him.
Whether Figueiredo can hold his title as long as Johnson and whether he can put together as many title defenses remains a question mark. But if he gets anywhere close to that amount, there will be an argument that he’s the UFC’s flyweight GOAT.
# 3 Deiveson Figueiredo must lure Henry Cejudo back into the UFC to fight and beat him
The unfortunate thing about Deiveson Figueiredo’s reign as UFC flyweight champion is that he failed to beat the man who held the title in front of him – former UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo.
Cejudo dumped Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 for the UFC flyweight title in what turned out to be Johnson’s last fight in the octagon. But after beating TJ Dillashaw in his first defense of the title, Triple C rose to 135 lbs, beating Marlon Moraes for the UFC bantamweight title, becoming one of the only simultaneous UFC double champions in the process.
Cejudo would never defend his UFC flyweight crown again, but instead give up in early 2020 before retiring a few months later. And that means while some fans have been talking about a fight between the two, Deiveson Figueiredo almost certainly has unfinished deals with the man he never beat to claim his title.
After a year on the shelf, Cejudo has never really confirmed that there is no way he will be back in the UFC. So it remains to be seen whether Deiveson Figueiredo will somehow find a way to lure Cejudo back into the octagon. That could happen if the Brazilian continues to dominate his opponents at £ 125.
If Cejudo returns and Deiveson Figueiredo defeats him and defeats the man who dropped Mighty Mouse, it would be difficult not to see the God of War as the UFC’s flyweight GOAT.