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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Danny Segura

Ex-UFC champ Brandon Moreno to take time off from MMA: ‘I just need to rest my body and mind’

Former UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno is stepping away from MMA – just for a little while.

Moreno has announced that he’ll be taking a temporary leave from his MMA career. He mad it clear this is not a retirement as Moreno (21-8-2 MMA, 9-5-2 UFC) promises he’ll eventually return to the octagon. Moreno made the announcement in a lengthy video posted to his Instagram account Monday.

“I feel like I’m at a point in my life where I’m putting in the work, I’m dedicated, but the results just aren’t there, and it’s very frustrating,” Moreno said in Spanish. “This is something that makes me very sad, but something that makes me who I am is that I always find a way to come back.

“I think with all the technical aspect things aside, I think I’m just tired. I’m tired of the media, the same questions, the vibe, the constant pressure. I don’t even think it’s a single moment anymore. I think it’s everything I’ve piled on my shoulders in the last few years. I’ve reached a point where my mind is stressed, and I just want to rest a bit. I’m not saying I’m 100 percent stepping away from MMA, but I do want to take a break to rest, be with my family and just be a normal person, be with my daughters, and just do new things.

“There are many things I haven’t done because I’m 100 percent focused on my training. I just want to rest a bit. This is by no means a goodbye. Just wait for me, have patience, let my body and my mind recover, and we’ll come back to do things well.”

Moreno is coming off a competitive split decision loss to Brandon Royval in February in Mexico City. That five-round defeat came on the heels of another split decision in which he lost his UFC flyweight title to Alexandre Pantoja, which was one of the best fights of 2023.

Apart from the pressure and mileage he’s put on his body, Moreno also said the results have been demoralizing.

“So yeah, what can I say? Even a month after the fight, I’m still digesting it a bit,” Moreno said. “I’m thankful for the beautiful moment because that walk to the octagon in Arena CDMX was super cool. It was something special and very beautiful because the last time I was there was in 2019, and people already knew who I was, and I was getting cheered, but you can’t compare it to this time. Everyone was supporting me and singing my song, and it was beautiful.

“At the same time, it also frustrates me a bit because I tried so hard to win. The camp was very good. I managed to stay away from injuries, and I was able to work very well. I put all my heart to get the win, and it didn’t happen. I now have two consecutive losses, but they’re two weird losses. Those are losses where you can make an argument that I won. Obviously, at the end of the day, a loss is a loss. Even though one guy left to the hospital and the other had to be taken out on a wheelchair out of the arena, I still didn’t get the win. So based on that, there’s work to do.”

Although the video had a somber tone, and it might come off as bad news for Moreno fans, “The Assassin Baby” promises that not only will he be back, but that he’s determined to recover his UFC flyweight title.

“The last time that happened, I came back, and I became a world champion,” Moreno said. “I’d like to think I can do the same and when I return, I’m going to go on a tear. I still think I’m an incredible fighter, and I have all the qualities and abilities to be a champion again.

“I just think I’ve reached a limit in my mind, and I’m tired. But outside of that, everything is excellent. I’m happy. I leave with the event on Feb. 24 with all the Mexicans that did get wins: “El Loco” Torres, Daniel Zellhuber, Edgar Chairez, Yazmin (Jauregui), Jesus Aguilar, all of them had the flag up high, and we have to keep supporting them. I know that more Mexican talent is coming, and we’ll see them in big UFC events. So I leave with that and the support. Everyone that supports me is fully on board, and there’s no way I can ever repay that. At this point, all I promise is that I’ll continue fighting, moving forward, and I will find the right path to move forward. I’m going to do everything to pick myself up again. I want to do it, I know I can do it, and I’m going to do it. I’m going to be champion. I just need to rest my body and mind.”

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