His Performance of the Night-winning showing under slightly brighter lights with Pettis propelled Ferreira into the top ten early last year, where he’s remained after an uncharacteristically inactive 2020.

“The pandemic was kind of really difficult for me. But this fight, I think I’m feeling hungrier than ever,” Ferreira said. “I took a year off after my fight with Anthony Pettis. I felt like I was kind of left behind after all that I did, but I’m here now and that’s what’s most important for me.”

ATHLETE BIOS: Diego Ferreira | Beneil Dariush

On top of planning a wedding and building a house, Ferreira was set to fight Drew Dober last March before the Coronavirus ran rampant, causing a handful of UFC events to be cancelled and the rest of his plans for the year to be put on hold.

The year off felt “a lot longer,” but Ferreira made the most of his time off by focusing on things he had neglected in the past: learning how to take care of his weight and body better, with a heavy emphasis on nutrition.

After having to pull out of his rescheduled bout against Dober in November on UFC Fight Island, Diego told himself he didn’t “want this to happen to me anymore.”

“A lot of this experience has made me stronger,” Ferreira said. “That’s what I’ve learned, you have to be strong to be a fighter, and that’s what I took from this year. To not be fighting, it’s hard, but I think this is now the time to show how smart I got.”