Ahead of Brandon Moreno’s fourth championship bout against Devieson Figueiredo, he revealed on social media that he was working with Fortis MMA head coach Sayif Saud following the suspension of James Krause.
Moreno went on to win the undisputed flyweight title at Saturday’s UFC 283 event, earning a doctor’s stoppage TKO following the third round’s conclusion. Moreno and Krause linked up prior to his interim title fight with Kai Kara-France at UFC 277 — that Moreno won via TKO. Following the edict put forth by the UFC that Krause, who was suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission, was banned from cornering or being part of any promotional event, and that UFC fighters were no longer allowed to train with Krause at Glory MMA, Moreno knew that show needed to go on.
Saud went with it, and when asked if he contacted Krause ahead of the partnership, he revealed no conversation was necessarily needed.
“No, I didn’t [talk to James],” Saud said on The MMA Hour. “I know James, we were colleagues, worked together, and have known each other for a while and whatever that situation ends up being for James it ends up being.
“I haven’t spoken to him. I wish him the best and I hope that it resolves itself and that it has a good resolution. But I don’t know if that’s being realistic, and I don’t know if that’s even a possibility at this point. The reality is that I spoke with Brandon about it briefly at the beginning, ‘We both know James, we both like James and it’s unfortunate,’ but we both understand what the situation is. Ultimately the only goal was to become the undisputed champion. Everyone else’s feeling and emotions are secondary.
“Whoever won this fight won all of the fights. Whoever won this fight won the history. Whoever got this fight, that’s it, history is going to side with them. It was just really important to focus on this fight.”
As the fight was a little over a month away, Saud said that Moreno’s manager reached out to see if he would be able to help the 29-year-old fighter prepare for the biggest fight of his career.
“I think it was the first week of December,” Saud said on The MMA Hour. “It was the week of the [World] MMA Awards because I worked with him that Friday. It was kind of after everything was unveiled, unfortunately, with his situation [involving Krause].
“Jason House reached out to me, we talked, I said I would be in there in Vegas cornering someone and going to the awards. I went there and met up with Brandon, and we had our first session.”
While the opportunity to corner one half of a title fight is something every head coach wants to do as often as possible, there wasn’t really a relationship between Saud and Moreno. Of course, they knew each other and had spoken to each other in the past, but they hadn’t worked together before in a professional sense.
Because of that, Saud wanted to make sure the pairing meshed before he could completely agree to it.
“My only thing is that I wanted to meet with him, train with him, and see how we gel,” Saud said. “As far as Brandon goes, Brandon is one of the most liked f****** guys in MMA. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like Brandon Moreno. He’s just such a lovable, good dude, family man.
“I just see him as one of those salt of the Earth guys and he is what he appears to be. Character wise, and personality wise, I don’t think it gets much better than that.”