To address this, the talented Brazilian fighter has proposed a No. 1 contender fight between Brandon Royval and Amir Albazi to the UFC matchmakers.
“I believe the most reasonable course of action is for them to face each other,” Pantoja expressed on a bonus episode of the Trocação Franca podcast. “Both of them have been claiming, ‘I’m next, I’m next, I’m next,’ and they are both in top form, so let them fight and the winner can come and challenge me. It’s only fair to everyone involved.”
He continued, “As I mentioned, the division has been stagnant for quite some time, and I was one of the fighters waiting for an opportunity. It would be great to see the division in motion again.”
Royval, who served as the backup fighter for Moreno vs. Pantoja at UFC 290, has achieved three consecutive victories since his submission loss to Pantoja in 2021. He defeated Rogerio Bontorin, Matt Schnell, and Matheus Nicolau. Meanwhile, Albazi boasts an undefeated record of 5-0 in the UFC, with his latest triumph being a split decision win against Kai Kara-France.
Pantoja revealed that he plans to take a much-needed month off to recuperate and relax after undergoing three training camps and dealing with injuries over the past 18 months. He has his sights set on December as a potential timeframe for his first title defense.
The American Top Team fighter also suggested that it would be beneficial for Moreno to partake in a non-title fight for the time being. Consequently, Royval and Albazi emerge as the two logical options for Pantoja’s next contenders. Former champion Deiveson Figueiredo might also throw his hat in the ring, considering his previous victory over Pantoja, but Pantoja remains unconvinced.
“Even Deiveson mentioned his desire to return to flyweight,” Pantoja remarked. “I don’t really understand it. Deiveson is unpredictable. He was offered a highly intriguing fight against Manel Kape, but he declined it because Kape’s ranking was too low. When I fought Manel Kape, I was ranked fifth, and he was unranked. When you truly want to fight, there are no excuses. Manel Kape is an extremely tough opponent.”
Pantoja added, “Deiveson claimed he was moving up to bantamweight, and I heard he would be facing Dominick Cruz. Then, after I win, he suddenly says, ‘No, I can easily drop back down to flyweight; I’m at a good weight.’ I like him, he’s a good guy, he rose from the bottom and was a dominant force in the division for a long time, but I think he has lost his way and made poor decisions. Nonetheless, he’s a champion, an exceptional fighter.”
Expressing his aspirations, Pantoja revealed that his dream is to earn enough money in the UFC to buy a beautiful home for his family in the United States and improve their lives in Brazil. Consequently, he currently prefers to be featured on a pay-per-view event rather than potentially headlining the UFC’s upcoming Fight Night in Sao Paulo on November 4th, which is currently scheduled to be headlined by Curtis Blaydes vs. Jailton Almeida.
“However, who am I to refuse, right?” he added. “If the UFC says I have a fight, I’ll fight. I love competing for the UFC, and I appreciate the way they treat the athletes.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UFC flyweight division
Q: Who is Alexandre Pantoja and what are his plans for defending his UFC title?
A: Alexandre Pantoja is a Brazilian talent in the UFC’s flyweight division. He intends to defend his UFC title before the end of the year. However, he acknowledges the lack of a clear challenger in the division at the moment.
Q: What suggestion does Alexandre Pantoja have for the UFC matchmakers?
A: Pantoja suggests a No. 1 contender fight between Brandon Royval and Amir Albazi to determine the next challenger for his title. He believes it is the most reasonable move since both fighters have expressed their desire for a title shot and are in good form.
Q: What is Pantoja’s reasoning behind his suggestion?
A: Pantoja believes that Royval and Albazi should fight each other because they have both been vocal about wanting to be next in line for the title shot. Additionally, they are both fresh and deserving contenders. Pantoja considers it fair to let them fight and determine the rightful challenger for his title.
Q: What is Alexandre Pantoja’s timeline for his first title defense?
A: Pantoja plans to take a month off to rest and recover from three training camps and injuries over the past 18 months. He eyes December as a possible timeframe for his first title defense.
Q: Who are the potential contenders for Pantoja’s title?
A: Brandon Royval and Amir Albazi are the top candidates for the No. 1 contender fight suggested by Pantoja. However, former champion Deiveson Figueiredo might also be considered, given his previous win over Pantoja. Pantoja, though, has doubts about Figueiredo’s commitment to returning to the flyweight division.
Q: What are Pantoja’s thoughts on Deiveson Figueiredo’s decision-making?
A: Pantoja finds Figueiredo’s decision-making perplexing. He mentions Figueiredo declining a fight against Manel Kape because of Kape’s low ranking, despite having fought Kape himself when he was unranked. Pantoja believes Figueiredo has made questionable choices and gotten lost along the way.
Q: What are Pantoja’s aspirations in the UFC?
A: Pantoja’s dream is to earn enough money in the UFC to buy a nice house for his family in the United States and make a positive change in their lives in Brazil. He values fighting on pay-per-view events for the opportunity to achieve his goals.
Q: Does Pantoja have any preferences for upcoming events?
A: While Pantoja would prefer to be featured on a pay-per-view event, he acknowledges that if the UFC offers him a fight, he will accept it. He expresses his love for fighting in the UFC and appreciates how the organization treats its athletes.