Brandon Moreno wants to defend UFC title vs. Alexandre Pantoja in Mexico: ‘The ideal scenario’
Flyweight champion Brandon Moreno wants to bring a UFC pay-per-view event to Mexico.
Moreno is looking to make the first title defense of his second stint as champion on home soil and against a man he’s lost to before in Alexandre Pantoja.
Moreno (21-6-2 MMA, 9-3-2 UFC) is hoping to be more active than he’s been in recent years, so ideally he’d like to return in the summer. However, if the UFC were to pay a visit to Mexico during their independence month of September, Moreno would be more than happy to wait.
“I would like to fight two more times this year – one in June and then again in November or December,” Moreno told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “I was fighting three times a year. I had that rhythm before the whole thing with Figueiredo started, so I’d like to pick that rhythm back up.
“But if UFC gives me the perfect excuse to wait until September for a pay-per-view in Mexico City, the launch of the Performance Institute (in Mexico), which I think this year gets launched, I think that’s an incredible excuse. I wouldn’t be surprised if they offer me Pantoja for the next one, so I think that would be the ideal scenario for me.”
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Moreno has lost to Pantoja twice, technically speaking, but only once in a professional setting. “The Assassin Baby” first fought the Brazilian in 2016, losing by second-round rear-naked choke in an exhibition bout contested during “The Ultimate Fighter 24.” The Mexican star met Pantoja again in 2018, losing a unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 129. It was his last defeat before going on his historic title run that would see him become a two-time UFC champion.
Moreno has nothing personal against Pantoja. Professionally, that’s a different story.
“Whether you want it or not, that thorn remains,” Moreno said. “That thorn of, ‘Hey, I know I can beat this guy, and he’s beaten me in the past.’
“As a competitor, I try to stay always very relaxed, and I don’t take anything personally, but whether you want it or not, that competitor side in my soul and spirit still has that little thorn. Something that I have very present in my head and something I’m very convinced of is that the Brandon Moreno that fought Pantoja in their respective times, those weren’t his best versions.
“When I fought him, and it’s not making excuses, Pantoja never fought the best Brandon Moreno at that time. I truly believe that, and I would love to prove that in the future.”