Brandon Moreno, UFC's new flyweight champion, hopes to defend belt this year

TIJUANA, Mexico -- Brandon Moreno, the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history, received a welcome befitting of a champion at his hometown gym Monday following his UFC flyweight title win over the weekend.

Two days removed from defeating Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 263 on Saturday in Glendale, Arizona, Moreno said he wants to defend his belt before the year is over.

"I don't know who [I'll end up facing], but I do know I want to fight again this year," said Moreno, who added that if the UFC returns to Mexico, he would be interested in headlining that card.

Entram Gym, located in downtown Tijuana, hosted a crowd of well-wishers -- including current and former MMA pros -- who greeted Moreno on Monday.

Amid those gathered was a mariachi band that played a full set, including a song composed and titled for Moreno, recounting his journey from Tijuana native to UFC champion. A few yards away, a stage featured a blown-up image of Moreno carrying the championship belt on his shoulder moments after his historic win.

Moreno has trained at Entram since 2006, when he was 12. The gym also has produced a number of former UFC fighters, including Henry Briones, Jose Quinonez and Martin Bravo. Since Moreno's ascent, the gym has attracted fighters from other parts of Mexico and Latin America as a whole.

"It's such a proud moment for all of us," said Argentina's Mauricio "Dragon" Nievas, an MMA pro with Ultimate Warrior Challenge who has trained at Entram since 2019. "We anticipate so many more young fighters wanting to come and train with us after this."

Moreno lost two consecutive fights to Sergio Pettis and Alexandre Pantoja between 2017 and '18. He was released from his contract in early 2019. A knockout win in the Legacy Fighting Alliance over Maikel Perez was enough to bring him back into the fold for UFC, where he has racked up four victories and two draws in his second stint.

Following a surprising performance that yielded a majority draw in his first bout with Figueiredo, Moreno pulled off a third-round submission Saturday.

"I still can't believe it -- it's still [surreal] to me sometimes even after all this time," Moreno said. "It's been a long journey, with a lot of good and bad moments. Mostly good."