When Brandon Moreno walked backstage, UFC title in hand and he saw his old teammate and ex-titleholder Henry Cejudo, he thought the time was right to say, “Thank you”.

The heartfelt conversation occurred minutes after Moreno (19-5-2 MMA, 8-2-2 UFC) submitted Deiveson Figueiredo to become the flyweight champion at UFC 263. It was captured on video and went viral.

“That moment was special because he was my teammate before, a long time ago,” Moreno told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “He helped me so much. He opened the door of his house. He helped me some mornings to get my training in, in Arizona, five or six ago. I never had the real opportunity to say thank you. To say, ‘Thank you so much, Henry, for helping me in the past.’ I thought that moment (was right) to say that to him. He was in his character as ‘Triple C.’ But I knew and saw that he was very happy for me and my performance and my life at that moment.”

Cejudo (16-2) retired without ever having lost a UFC title. He held two of them, one at flyweight and one at bantamweight, and both vacated upon his departure. At the time of Cejudo’s exit, Moreno was in the UFC on the come-up toward a UFC title. The two never fought, but with their Mexico ties, Moreno thinks a matchup could be on the table depending on what Cejudo wants to do.

“He’s another possibility,” Moreno said. You never know. … Definitely, yes. It’s a possibility. Obviously, he’s retired. He’s almost a father. He is in a marriage with his girlfriend. He has a nice life. He has a nice life, bro. He’s talking about a fight against Volkanovski. He’s talking about a fight against Petr Yan. He wanted to fight against Figueiredo. You never know what will happen in the future. I’m the champion and I need to fight (against) the guys the UFC says. I don’t know. You never know.”

Watch Brandon Moreno’s gym erupt after his UFC 263 title win

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For now, however, Cejudo stays retired, which leaves a sea of contenders for Moreno’s next challenge. In the wake of losing the title, Figueiredo revealed he felt unwell at UFC 263 and asked for a rematch – one that Moreno isn’t particularly keen on granting, at least not immediately.

“Come on,” Moreno said. “He was respectful after the fight. I want to keep that respect of him. If he starts to talk again with excuses, I don’t have any more comments about that. Talking about the fight, definitely, he’s a former champion. It’s a possibility. I need to talk to the UFC. … I think the fight was very dominant, so maybe he needs to fight with another guy first. I don’t know, man. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”

If not Cejudo or the trilogy vs. Figueiredo, Moreno sees other options including the winner of a rumored July 31 fight between former UFC title challenger Alex Perez (24-6 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and undefeated Russian fighter Askar Askarov (14-0-1, 3-0-1). Also, former bantamweight champion Cody Gabrandt (12-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC) been linked to 125-pound fights in the past. Then there’s Alexandre Pantoja (23-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC), who holds a past win over Moreno.

“We’ll see what happens,” Moreno said. “There’re a few names there. Obviously, the fight between Askarov and Alex Perez, I think the winner can be the next one. Cody Garbandt fought against Rob Font last time and he lost, but he’s a former champion. He’s always a possibility. Alexandre Pantoja is another possibility, too. He beat me in the past.

UFC 263 took place Saturday at Gila River Arena. The main card streamed on pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.

Check out Moreno’s full interview with MMA Junkie below:


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