Having claimed victory over some of the finest flyweights worldwide in his over 30 professional MMA encounters, including two wins over current UFC champion Brandon Moreno, Alexandre Pantoja sets his sights higher as he gears up for UFC 290 this Saturday in Las Vegas.
Previously serving as the reserve competitor twice in the UFC, Pantoja’s opportunity to take part in a title match didn’t come to fruition. Now, finally competing for the title, the Brazilian MMA pride from Arraial do Cabo gets ready to face off with Moreno for the third time.
Pantoja triumphed in their initial matchup by submission during an Ultimate Fighter exhibition in 2016, and secured a decisive victory over Moreno in a match two years later.
“Now the situation has changed as he is the champion,” Pantoja recently stated on the MMA Hook podcast Trocação Franca. He acknowledged the confidence Moreno has gained as champion and expressed respect for Moreno’s evolution, but also emphasized his own growth at American Top Team over the past five years.
Pantoja’s goal is to face the best version of Moreno, acknowledging his opponent’s impressive victories over Deiveson Figueiredo and Kai Kara-France. Yet Pantoja remains focused on his aim to disrupt Moreno’s successful UFC journey at the upcoming clash in the T-Mobile Arena. Post-victory, he intends to continue competing against top contenders in pursuit of legendary status.
Pantoja expressed his ambition to compete with the top names in the pound-for-pound rankings, stating, “While equalling Demetrious Johnson’s record is a tall order, I hope to reach the rank of pound-for-pound best. I aim to not only become a champion of my division but one of the greatest martial artists in the world.”
He expressed skepticism over a potential immediate rematch for Moreno following UFC 290, considering other waiting contenders. His plan as an “active champion” is to defend his title before the year ends.
Despite respecting Moreno and his journey, Pantoja is determined to establish his own legacy in the UFC. “The UFC wasn’t established to find the most charismatic fighter, but to identify the best martial artist, and that’s what I’m going there to prove.”
With expectations of a well-prepared Moreno, Pantoja is ready to step up, continually improving himself and bracing for future challenges. The fighter looks forward to his bout with Moreno and the potential for it to make UFC history.
Pantoja, who once never anticipated being a part of the UFC, let alone a champion, considers himself a winner regardless of the outcome. For the first time, he will bring his children from Florida to Las Vegas for the fight week, hoping to gift them a gleaming symbol of victory come Saturday.
“My teammates believe in my championship caliber, but the daily grind reminds me there are no preordained champions,” he said. “One has to navigate the process. I am prepared for the strain, the recovery, and starting over. There are days when you are tested to your limit, and it’s a reminder that I must work hard to be ready for Moreno.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Alexandre Pantoja
Who is Alexandre Pantoja going to fight in UFC 290?
Alexandre Pantoja is going to fight Brandon Moreno in UFC 290.
How many times has Pantoja beaten Moreno before UFC 290?
Alexandre Pantoja has beaten Brandon Moreno twice before their encounter in UFC 290.
Where is Alexandre Pantoja from?
Alexandre Pantoja hails from Arraial do Cabo, Brazil.
What is Pantoja’s overall goal beyond his division’s championship?
Pantoja’s overarching ambition is to compete with the top names in the pound-for-pound rankings, aiming to become one of the world’s greatest martial artists.
Will Pantoja allow for an immediate rematch with Moreno after UFC 290?
Pantoja is skeptical about an immediate rematch with Moreno following UFC 290, considering there are other contenders waiting for their opportunities.
What does Pantoja hope to give his children in Las Vegas for the fight week?
For the first time, Pantoja will bring his children from Florida to Las Vegas for the fight week, hoping to present them with the championship belt as a gift if he wins.
Who does Pantoja consider as his next potential opponents?
Pantoja mentions potential matchups with great names in the division such as Deiveson Figueiredos, Manel Kapes, and Matheus Nicolaus.