Rob Font props up Deiveson Figueiredo at bantamweight

    AUSTIN, Texas – Rob Font is confident he’ll handle Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC on ESPN 52, but it won’t be easy.

    Figueiredo (21-3-1 MMA, 10-6 UFC) is a former UFC flyweight champion who will make his promotional bantamweight debut on Saturday’s main card at Moody Center.

    Although Figueiredo carries championship aura, Font (20-7 MMA, 10-3-1 UFC) doesn’t consider notoriety any sort of factor in the fight’s preparation or outcome.

    “This guy has been fighting (Brandon) Moreno for the last 10 years, it feels like,” Font told MMA Junkie and other reporters Wednesday at a pre-fight news conference. “There’s a lot of film on him. You know he’s going to bring it. You know he’s going to put on an exciting fight. I wouldn’t say there’s a little more pressure. I think it’s if you read into all the hype and all the build-up to the fight, you could put more pressure on yourself. But I don’t see it. I see it he’s coming into my division, and I’m glad to welcome him.”

    Whenever a fighter moves up, there’s much ado from the public pertaining to how the athlete fits into a division full of new body shapes, sizes, and frames. As for Figueiredo, who struggled with weight issues at flyweight, Font is a believer. Figueiredo will be a serious test in Font’s estimation.

    “I think he’s still going to be a pretty decent-sized bantamweight,” Font said. “(He’s) a little shorter, but I think size-wise and strength-wise, he’s going to be right there. I do have the reach advantage. I feel like in certain positions with the shorter guy, it’s actually advantageous for them. So I don’t want to think, ‘Oh, I’m going to big-brother this guy.’ He’s going to be there. He’s been in wars. He’s been in a lot of five-round fights. He always brings it, so I’m taking him very seriously.”

    Font looks to bounce back from an August loss to Cory Sandhagen in what will be his third appearance of 2023. In April, Font called for Figueiredo after a win over Adrian Yanez. The callout wasn’t rooted in disrespect, however.

    “We asked for this fight after my fight in Miami,” Font said. “It didn’t play out and it eventually came back around. You know if you’re stepping in the cage with Deiveson, he’s going to bring it. He’s definitely a fan-favorite. He’s exciting and I think our styles are definitely going to be Fight of the Night styles for sure.”

    The difference in the fight will lie in the striking, Font estimated. Being technical will be key. If Font beats a big name, he estimates only bigger and better things are on the horizon.

    “One-hundred percent,” Font said. “He has a huge name (and is) a former champion. I feel like this should put me right back into that conversation, if not, another big fight for sure. Obviously, that’s all we take, I feel like. It’s one of those things where regardless of how this fight plays out, I’m going to be fighting another big fight.”

    For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 52.

    Be sure to visit the MMA Junkie Instagram page and YouTube channel to discuss this and more content with fans of mixed martial arts.

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