We have all heard the cheesy sports mantras that talk about “Never quit!” or “Never Give Up!” It can be motivational from time to time but the man I believe truly embodies never giving up, despite the odds in front of you, is Brandon Moreno.
If you polled up and coming fighters, about what their current goals are, I can all but guarantee you that the majority of them will tell you “To make it to the UFC.” Which is by no means an easy task, not only is there no definitive path to the organization but your only reward for clawing your way there is to face tougher and tougher competition in your pursuit of gold. Brandon Moreno knew that and welcomed the challenge. After fighting for 5 years across Mexico and the United States, he would finally get his break with the world's premier mixed martial arts organization.
He entered the organization as a very promising prospect, stacking three wins in a row, with two of them being finishes against very stiff competition and claiming a “Performance of the Night” bonus in the process. Lots of eyes were on him in the flyweight division. So, it came as a surprise to say the least that after two losses in a row, the UFC decided to part ways with him while he was still ranked in the top ten. The division was still relatively young and with Demetrious Johnson being as dominant as he was, the most uninformed MMA fans would talk about how the weight class just wasn’t exciting, coupled with relatively poor viewership led the UFC to consider cutting the weight class entirely. However, it was and still is the common practice to cut most unranked fighters after a 2-fight skid.
Brandon was a kid with a dream though, and nothing would stop him from chasing it. Despite later admitting that getting cut really took a toll on him and made him feel like a “loser.”
Just like when Thomas Edison was watching his laboratory filled with his life's work burn to the ground. Instead of getting upset or calling it quits, he told his son to “Go get your mother and all her friends, they’ll never see a fire like this again.” Mr. Moreno looked fate in the eye and simply said, no. This isn’t over for me, I won’t stop until I am UFC champion.
After getting cut he took one year off and came back to fight for the LFA Flyweight title against Maikel Perez where he was able to secure a fourth round finish, claim the belt and once again join the UFC roster. Upon his return, his first fight ended in a draw against Askar Askarov and would leave fans wondering if he did truly belong. Those voices would quickly be stifled though as his next 3 fights would be decisive victories leading up to the epic trilogy he would have with Deiveson Figueiredo. With all three bouts having different results, (Draw, win and loss) it was an exciting saga that we all thought was over. But in his most recent outing, he bested Kai Kara-France for the Interim Flyweight Championship, which will lead to the UFC’s first ever quadrilogy! Where the Baby Assassin and God of War will once again meet in the octagon for ostensibly the final time at UFC 283. Having already fought each other for over an hour of total cage time, they know each other very well at this point and it should be fireworks come January. Firsts are always exciting in the UFC.
If there is one big lesson to learn from Mr. Moreno, its persistence in the face of overwhelming odds pays off. Most fighters won’t ever see the inside of the octagon and sign a contract with Zuffa. Let alone, get cut to come back and get another shot at their dreams. Less likely still to
achieve those dreams by becoming a world champion. So as cheesy as it sounds, there is something to be said about never giving up on your dreams and pursuing them relentlessly.