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At the age of 12 Brandon Moreno began training MMA on the advice of his mother to combat boredom. Fast-forward 10 years and he’s a top-15 UFC flyweight.
Coming into his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night “Lineker vs. Dodson”, Moreno was set to face off against the #9 ranked Flyweight Luis Smolka, on two weeks notice, to replace an injured Sergio Pettis. Even though it wasn’t an ideal situation for him to make his UFC debut, Moreno made the best of it, “The opportunity to make my UFC debut was unique, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
While he was confident in his abilities, most pundit’s believed it would be a competitive fight but that Smolka would outpoint the untested Moreno as the fight went on.
Moreno had a different plan.
He put on the performance of his life, stunningly submitting Smolka with a guillotine choke in the very first round and earning himself a $50k “Performance of the Night Bonus”.
Moreno stated, “The bonus was great but the taxes in America are so big, I need to pay 30% of all of the money I made. But with my earnings from my next few fights, I want to buy a house for my family and me.” His energetic post-fight speech combined with his fantastic UFC debut made him an instant fan-favorite in the 125lb division.
Moreno is now the #14 ranked flyweight in the UFC and is ready for whomever the UFC puts in front of him. “If my next fight is a top 10 guy, I’m good. And if I fight an unranked guy, I’m good.” (UFC Español recently announced that Moreno is now scheduled to fight Ryan Benoit on December 3rd at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale.)
While he is gaining momentum, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Moreno. Suffering a first-round loss in TUF 24, Brandon Moreno’s experience on the Ultimate Fighter wasn’t what he hoped it would be. But he made the most out of his TUF experience, forming a close bond with his head coach Joseph Benavidez (Who flew out to Brandon’s UFC debut on his own dime). “I continued to learn from my coach Joseph Benavidez, and after team practice, he would train with me personally and show me some great moves. I feel like a better overall fighter and a better person after The Ultimate Fighter.”
Now that he has achieved his dream of making it to the UFC, Moreno has another goal in mind: A showdown with the current UFC flyweight champion Demetrius Johnson. Moreno envisions a fight with him, just not anytime soon. “I know my position in the company, and I think I’ll need 3-4 more fights to be in contention to fight him. But In my future, I see a fight with Demetrius Johnson.”
The UFC is always trying to push international fighters from big markets and Brandon Moreno has all the tools to become the next star coming out of Mexico. He’s only 22 years old, has a charismatic personality, and the skills to back it up.
As they say in México, “Cuidado con los “El asesino de bebés” (Watch out for “The Assassin Baby”)