New UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo says granting former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt a flyweight title shot would be “unfair.”
Garbrandt, who enjoyed a brief reign as the UFC bantamweight champion in 2016 and 2017, recently rebounded three-straight losses by knocking out Raphael Assuncao. While this dazzling knockout win put him in prime position in the race for a bantamweight title shot, he later expressed interest in dropping down to flyweight to challenge Figueiredo. He even proclaimed himself as the division’s No. 1 contender, despite never having fought there before.
“As far as I know [I’m the number one contender]. I don’t have a contract in hand, I’m waiting on that with Ali [Abdelaziz] and Dana [White], and Sean [Shelby] and Mick [Maynard],” Garbrandt told ESPN, laying out plans to challenge Figueiredo “I’ve actually been vocal about going to ’25 for quite some time. We spoke about it in the past before the Assuncao fight. I feel like it is great, I’m able to do it now, early still in my career. I just turned 29. Go down to ’25, challenge and win the belt there and then go back up to 135 pounds and compete with the best of them there.
“So, I feel like at the time in my life and my career it is very pivotal to make this transition into flyweight and bantamweight,” he continued. “I don’t think a lot of the flyweight guys can compete as the level I can. So, I’m very blessed I am able to do that. I’m hopeful I get this shot against Figueiredo. Great guy, he is a tough competitor, I just think I am way more skilled than him. Excited for the challenge at task and hopefully we can get it done and I can get in the Octagon before the year is up.”
According to Figueiredo, however, granting Garbrandt an immediate flyweight title shot would be “unfair” to the flyweight contenders who have been putting in the work to earn that opportunity.
“We want him to prove he can make 125 pounds and fight someone in my weight class,” Figueiredo said. “After that, if he wins, he can come fight me. But we don’t agree with him coming down and skipping the line and going straight for the belt against me. He needs to prove he can make 125 and fight someone. It would be unfair if the UFC puts him straight for the belt. I think the UFC has to respect the others that worked hard for a title shot.”
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