It comes with the territory at 125 pounds. Not only is UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo tasked with defending his title, but he must also draw attention to the weight class, something that flyweights have generally struggled to do since the UFC added the division in 2012.

Former champion Demetrious Johnson never got the masses to care about 125 pounds, despite a dominating six-year career that included 11 title defenses. And Henry Cejudo, who took the title from Johnson in 2018, didn’t stick around long enough to really make an impact. He gained weight in 2019 and retired in 2020.

But Figueiredo (19-1), who grew up on a small farm in Soure, Brazil, might be the right man for the job. The 32-year-old carries the arrogance of the division’s most devastating forward, dominating veteran flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez, twice, in 2020.

Figueiredo’s path to a UFC championship was not a straight line. Before entering the Octagon, he struggled in regional promotions in Brazil to gain experience and, of course, earn some income. But beyond the fights, he had a wide range of jobs throughout his life. Some fit the profile of what one might expect from a fighter, others not so much. Some jobs were just a source of income for Figueiredo, while others were born out of his passions and could figure in his post-fight future.

As Figueiredo prepares for his first title defense, against Alex Perez at UFC 255 on Saturday in Las Vegas, ESPN went into his personal archive to see the résumé of a fighter who could be set for a long reign at the top of the division. flyweight.

Mason: ‘We would break down walls to build new houses’

Years: 19

Location: Soure, Brazil

Figueiredo worked as a bricklayer in his small hometown, in the Brazilian region of Pará, for about a year. He worked at this job five days a week, Monday through Friday.

“I wasn’t really a brick man, I was a brick man’s assistant,” Figueiredo said. “I did this job until I moved to Belem full time.”

During this period of his life, Figueiredo traveled frequently between his hometown and the much larger city of Belem, where his brother Francisco lived. He had several other jobs at this age, including selling ice cream and clothing that he would bring Soure from Belem, but masonry took up most of his time.

“We would break down walls to build new houses,” Figueiredo said. “What I liked most about this job was the carpentry part. We used to do roofing for houses, and this was my favorite part. It was more interesting and less heavy than the other jobs. I never liked working with heavier things, and the wood that was used for the roofs was the lightest material we used. “

Security guard: ‘They were asking me to … immobilize the biggest guy in the fight’

Years: 19

Location: Soure, Brazil

In addition to his weekday bricklaying job, Figueiredo worked as a security guard on weekends. He was already training martial arts at the time, having started Marajoara, a Brazilian fighting style, before he was 10 years old. He added other martial arts, including jiu-jitsu, as he progressed into adolescence.

“There are no nightclubs in Soure, so most of the parties would be in small clubs,” said Figueiredo. “Whenever there was a fight at a party, the other security guys were all taller than me, but they would ask me to go first and pin down the biggest guy who was fighting, then get him out of there. They always sent me first. ., because they didn’t know how to do that. I don’t remember exactly how many guys I sent during that job, but it was usually three to four at each party. “

Fisherman: ‘It was a really small boat that was shaking a lot’

Years: 22

Location: Belem, Brazil

Growing up on a farm in Soure, Figueiredo was very familiar with wildlife and hunting. “Ilha do Marajo is the largest maritime island in the world,” said Figueiredo. “It is made up of 143 municipalities and many animals, wild animals. Crocodiles, stripes, ferocious animals. I grew up in the middle of this madness. … We ate a lot of turtle, bird eggs and a lot of wild boar. “

Figueiredo also fished in the rivers near his farm. He did it with his father for years, but when he tried to fish in the open sea from a boat in his 20s, it didn’t last long.

“I didn’t like it,” said Figueiredo. “I thought it was dangerous. We left at 4am from shore and came back at 3pm. Hated it. When the boat came back I threw myself out of the boat and said I would never come back. Really small boat that was shaking a lot. I had a feeling that it would tip over at any moment. The sun was very hot and there was a strong smell of gasoline. The whole experience was bad. “

Sushi chef: ‘Maybe one day I’ll invent mine [sushi]’

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A post shared by Deiveson Figueiredo (@daico_deusdaguerra)

Years: 25

Location: Belem, Brazil

Figueiredo learned how to make sushi in Belem through an acquaintance at the gym where he and his brother trained. “We met a boy in the gym who was a sushi man, so he took us to learn how to make sushi in the same school that he had learned,” said Figueiredo’s brother Francisco. “So this guy got a job for Daico [Deiveson’s nickname], even without much experience. But then this guy left work the following week and left Daico to be the boss there! “

It was Figueiredo’s first experience as a sushi chef, and that was before moving to Belem full time. Once he left Soure permanently and moved to town, he relied on making sushi at various restaurants to help support himself while he was building his MMA resume. He even temporarily opened his own sushi business in 2017.

“When I was hired by the UFC in 2017, I used my first UFC paycheck to build a sushi delivery service at my house along with my brother,” Figueiredo said. “But we eventually gave it up. I never created my own sushi; I always followed the menus of the restaurants I was in. Maybe one day I’ll invent my own.”

Hairdresser: ‘I loved the salons’

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A post shared by Deiveson Figueiredo (@daico_deusdaguerra)

Years: 26

Location: Belem, Brazil

Of all the jobs Figueiredo had before signing with the UFC, his favorite by far was styling his hair. He started working in a beauty salon when he was 26 years old and had an interest in becoming a hairdresser, but was not allowed at first.

“I was running errands there, until one of the hairdressers said, ‘Come here and be my assistant.’ That’s when I really started to learn, “said Figueiredo.

She quickly realized that she was passionate about working in beauty salons, although she didn’t know how to do any of the work there. “You have to show special affection,” said Figueiredo. “I loved the salons. I just didn’t like the part about brushing a woman’s hair because it burned my whole hand with the blow dryer.”

Figueiredo didn’t know how to cut a man’s hair, but he had what he thought was a smart solution. “I asked my boss to cut it and told him I knew [how to do] “, said.” So he gave me that opportunity. I went to cut a boy’s hair. Was 16 years old; I ruined the whole child’s head. I looked at my boss and thought, ‘I lost my job this time.’ But I got away with it.

“Then he had me shave a client; this one was even worse. In the end, I looked at the client and there was blood all over his beard, I cut the guy’s face so much.”

Figueiredo kept his job, remained an assistant, and learned new skills. “I even learned how to make up,” she said. “I’ve always been watching. It’s something I’ve always identified with, working with hair. When I’m done fighting, which is my great passion, I’ll think about opening a beauty salon.”

Motorcycle taxi driver: ‘There was always someone who wanted to go somewhere’

Years: 30

Location: Belem, Brazil

The last job Figueiredo had before signing with the UFC was crossing the city of Belem with passengers on the back of his motorcycle. Figueiredo was undefeated on Brazil’s regional MMA circuit at the time, and believed he was close to a contract with the UFC. The promotion hired him in 2017 to compete in a pay-per-view event in Rio de Janeiro that summer.

“I had my girlfriend, who is my wife today, and dating costs money,” said Figueiredo. “I needed to work harder to earn money for that. I would bring people to work, home, and there was always someone who wanted to go somewhere along the way. I liked seeing places in Belem that I wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity to see.

“I had been doing things to become a professional wrestler since I moved to Belem, and I always felt this presence in my life, becoming a professional wrestler. When I was fighting in Jungle Fights [in 2016], which is the biggest show in the region, that’s when I knew I could make it to the UFC. “

ESPN’s Igor Resende contributed to this report.