UFC Norfolk: Deiveson Figueiredo fights to provide a better life for his family

Deiveson Figueiredo (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Deiveson Figueiredo (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) /

The vacant UFC flyweight title is on the line this weekend at UFC Norfolk. And as one half of the main event, Deiveson Figueiredo will look to become only the third champion in the division’s history.

What do fighters fight for? The responses are vastly different depending on who is being asked. But for Brazil’s Deiveson Figueiredo, the answer couldn’t be any more concrete.

“I just think about making a better life for my family,” Figueiredo told FanSided. “I’m gonna be proud for my country. But the most important, without MMA-UFC, is changing the lives of the people [in it]. This sport is a great way to have a better life. I think about my family – the struggle I’ve had in my life. I feel so powerful. This makes me powerful. My family, my background. I want to show that everybody in the world can do it.”

Holding a stellar record of 17-1, the Soure, Para native has become one of the greatest 125-pound competitors in the world today. Having successfully rebounded off of his lone career loss to Jussier “Formiga” da Silva in March 2019, he currently rides a two-fight winning streak.

Feeling relaxed and ready, Figueiredo believes he couldn’t be any better prepared for this next fight. And none of his prior 18 outings have been nearly as big.

Figueiredo will take on Joseph Benavidez for the vacant UFC flyweight title in UFC Norfolk‘s main event Saturday night. For him, he knew it was only a matter of time before this opportunity was granted to him.

“I was really happy when I signed with the UFC,” Figueiredo said. “It really started to change my life. And when I signed my second contract I started to focus on being the champion. Because I beat the first three guys too easily. Even on the second contract, my family felt I could fight for the belt. The UFC changed my life. I grew up on a farm in the islands in the extreme north of Brazil. The UFC has been amazing. When I beat everyone so easy I said, ‘Now I want to be the champion.’ Everything is coming at the right time.”

The fight will act as Benavidez’s third career UFC title fight while it’s Figueiredo’s first. On top of that, the flyweight knockout artist has never even headlined a UFC card before or fought in a five-round fight.

Despite that, he’s feeling no pressure and has learned what he believes will be more than enough by just having gotten into the UFC by itself.

“I’ve learned a lot when it comes to the UFC and how to be a professional – how to be happy with the sport,” Figueiredo shared. “It’s the best time of my life, I’ve had the best camp of my life. I’m very professional now. The UFC has taught me how to be a professional and I’m very happy right now.

“It’s not going to be five rounds because I’m going to knock him out in one of the first two rounds. I feel great.”

While the moment of winning the title would be huge for Figueiredo, his division, and his country … it’s about a lot more than that for the man who’s worked on a farm since age 12.

Prior to the title being vacated, it was held by Henry Cejudo who is now the current bantamweight champion at 135-pounds. After injury and reluctance to return to flyweight, the UFC decided to strip the former “Triple C” of one of his crowns.

Figueiredo isn’t upset that he isn’t getting a chance to be the one to dethrone Cejudo. He’s just happy he’s getting a chance at all and that the promotion “did the right thing.”

He’s made it very clear that his focus is on Benavidez and capturing the title – no matter who does or doesn’t have it. And in turn, he knows it will only set up many more possibilities for him to be an example to the world.

“I want to be the example not just for the Brazilian people but the guy from Africa, from Argentina, whatever small country or city … Even if you’re not from the city, if you’re from the farm. I was a kid from the farm who can be a UFC champion. This is the example I want to give to the world.”

Having come from the islands of Brazil and farming for most of his life, Figueiredo doesn’t expect the championship status to change him or for any special treatment by his fellow Brazilians.

In the end, a win for Figueiredo is something he doesn’t just believe will prove flyweight’s importance, but that “Hard work pays off no matter where you come from.”

UFC Norfolk takes place on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, live from the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia. Follow along with FanSided MMA all your live results and highlights.

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