Alexandre Pantoja feels Brandon Royval deserves UFC 296 title opportunity: “He’s fought with everybody in the top 10”

By Fernando Quiles - December 10, 2023

UFC flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja isn’t going to downplay Brandon Royval as a challenger.

Alexandre Pantoja Brandon Royval

Pantoja and Royval are no strangers to one another. Back in August 2021, Pantoja submitted Royval via rear-naked choke in the second round. Since that fight, Royval has gone on a three-fight winning streak. In that span, he’s beaten Rogério Bontorin, Matt Schnell, and Matheus Nicolau. The streak has earned Royval the number two spot on the official UFC flyweight rankings, and a championship opportunity.


Alexandre Pantoja Views Brandon Royval As Worthy Challenger

During an appearance on‘s “The MMA Hour,” Alexandre Pantoja didn’t pretend like he doesn’t view Brandon Royval as a worthy contender.

“Royval definitely deserves to fight for the belt,” Pantoja said on The MMA Hour. “It’s a guy coming off a few big wins. He knocked out Matheus Nicolau, a phenomenal fighter from Brazil. He finished Matt Schnell, and he [beat Rogerio Bontarin]. He deserves it. He’s fought with everybody in the top 10, he deserves to fight for the belt, and it’s a very good match in a very different moment for me.”

Pantoja then reflected on the situation with his personal life going into the first fight with Royval.

“When I fought Brandon Royval for the first time, that time I was driving [for] Uber, I had an injury in my knee, and that fight had a lot of emotion. I think at one point, all the emotion was very heavy, but I could use that. My mind that fight was 200 percent, very strong. Now it’s very different moment. He wants something that I have and I need to take care. Brandon Royval is very, very real dude. He’s a guy I need to be prepared for. I’m going to make a lot of money for that fight and I’m going to deserve all the [pay-per-view] points because I’m going to put on a very good show for everybody watching.”


Alexandre Pantoja Brandon Royval UFC