“I think that he has something to worry about,” Figueiredo recently said through his translator. “I’m the original. And if he’s the virus, I’m the antivirus to him.”
O’Malley’s first title defense is set for UFC 299 on March 9, and Figueiredo feels that “one more fight should put me in line for the title.” Having said that, Figueiredo would gladly jump on an opportunity to face the winner of O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera if given the chance.
“I think I have a big name coming into the division,” Figueiredo said. “I think that’s definitely a possibility. I’m a two-time former champion. My last fight at 125 [pounds against Brandon Moreno,] I had not had a good camp and now I am great. I feel that could be a possibility. However, I will patiently await what the UFC has in mind for me.”
If not an immediate title shot next, Figueiredo saw ex-champion Petr Yan as “a great name” and “a great fight” for his next step in the division, however Yan was ultimately booked to face Song Yadong at UFC 299.
Now Figueiredo is leaving it up to the UFC and its matchmakers to decide his fate.
“I’m ready for whoever they wanna put me against,” Figueiredo said. “The first name to come to my mind would be Sean O’Malley, so besides him, whoever they put against me.”
Regardless of the opponent, Figueiredo confirmed that one thing is for sure: Former two-division UFC champion and current bantamweight contender Henry Cejudo will continue to be his coach.
“I really like him,” said Figueiredo, who again moved to Arizona with his wife and son to work with Cejudo. “His strategies are awesome. He will be the master of masters among my coaches. I feel really, really comfortable here.”