Meet Deiveson Figueiredo, the 'humble' UFC champion who was a bricklayer, hairdresser and sushi chef before MMA career

DEIVESON FIGUEIREDO is the 'humble' UFC champion who worked as a bricklayer, hairdresser and sushi chef before his MMA career.

The Brazilian debuted as a fighter in 2012, amassing 12 straight wins before joining the UFC in 2017.

Within three years he already had gold wrapped around his waist – but had to win TWO title fights to receive the belt, having missed weight on the first occasion.

Figueiredo makes the first defence of his flyweight crown this Saturday as he faces Alex Perez in the UFC 255 co-headliner.

The 32-year-old has earned for everything he has achieved, and was even forced to take odd jobs before his UFC career lifted off.

Figueiredo worked as a bricklayer, hairdresser, and motorcycle taxi driver in his native Brazil before joining MMA's elite.

But his favourite pastime was working as a sushi chef.

And he still visits the restaurant now to cook for his wife Bruna Moraes, daughter Ana Julia and trainers Jose Carlos Maizena and Lenny Lovato.

Figueiredo said on the UFC's 'Countdown' show: "It was my first job when I moved here.

"But once learned, never forgotten. I had to learn it. For about five months I was making sushi.

"After I started making a living fighting, I stopped working there.

"My wife can try it and find out that her husband knows how to make good food not just know how to fight.

"I also brought coaches Maizena and Lovato. Maizena brought his wife and I also brought my daughter."

Figueiredo was born in the small city of Soure, Para, near the river Amazon.

There he worked with his father at an animal farm until he was thirteen years old.

Figueiredo then moved to Belem – where he started training in the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira, which combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music.

After two years, he would take up MMA aged 16 when he met current UFC bantamweight Iuri Marajo.

Figueiredo fought exclusively in Brazil – earning little money – before getting his break by signing with the UFC.

He said: "I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I came from a humble background.

"It was by breaking barriers that I got to the top of the world.

"Now I'm going to defend my title against Alex Perez for the firs time and I'm sure the belt will remain at home."

Figueiredo was handed his first title shot in February, as he fought UFC veteran Joseph Benavidez for the vacant strap.

But he was unable to contest for the belt having dramatically missed weight by 2.5lb.

It meant his stoppage win in round two counted for nothing and his road to supremacy was unfulfilled.

But Figueiredo revealed the biggest heartbreak was failing to live up to a promise he made his grandfather before he passed away.

The South American vowed to fulfill his grandfather's ultimate wish and become UFC champion.

But he was given a second chance to do so, as he secured a rematch against Benavidez, 36, on Fight Island in July.

This time Figueiredo made no mistake on the scales as he successfully weighed in at 125lb.

And again he did the job inside the octagon, three times flooring Benavidez before submitting him in round one.

The win resonated back home in Soure, as Figueiredo was given a celebratory parade as he lifted the belt aloft on a rooftop bus.

But the only thing on the newly crowned champion's mind was taking the title to his grandfather's grave.

He said: "I arrived in Brazil and went directly to Soure to visit my grandfather and bring the belt for him to see.

"It's hard for me to talk about because I love my grandfather so much. I know God keeps his soul in a great place."

Figueiredo was due to face former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt this weekend.

But after American Garbrandt, 29, pulled out injured, Perez – on a three fight win streak – stepped in.

Figueiredo plans to commit his future at flyweight for now – but is already dreaming of becoming a two-weight king.

He said: "My main goal is to defend the belt five times and go up to bantamweight division."

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