Brandon Royval reveals two callouts he has planned after becoming champion at UFC 296

Brandon Royval isn’t getting ahead of himself, but he already has plans in mind for when he becomes flyweight champion at UFC 296.

His fight to win the title comes against Alexandre Pantoja, who also happens the be the last person to hand him a defeat in his career. Since losing that fight in 2021, Royval rattled off three straight wins, including a submission over Matt Schnell and a jaw-dropping knockout against Matheus Nicolau.

The win against Pantoja will give Royval a measure of revenge, but just evening the series won’t be enough, which is why Royval is already thinking about an eventual trilogy.

“That was going to be my first callout,” Royval told MMA Fighting about asking for a trilogy fight with Pantoja. “Two out of three. I want to fight him immediately. I want to fight him at UFC 300. I want to fight him as quickly as possible and I want to end this right now. I want to end the discussion of who is the better fighter, because I know in my head that I’m way better and way more skilled than he is.

“That being said, who knows how this fight plays out. Who knows how much time either one of us are going to need, because basically we’re both kind of wild fighters. I do live in the chaos and I do see this as both of us dragging each other to hell.”

While a third fight with Pantoja would be his first option, Royval feels like he has unfinished business with ex-UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno as well.

Royval suffered a loss to Moreno just over three years ago when he sustained a shoulder injury that left him severely compromised before falling victim to the Mexican fighter by TKO. As much as he doesn’t realistically count that as a loss on his record due to the circumstances that led to his defeat, Royval still desperately wants that one back, so Moreno will be another name at the tip of Royval’s tongue on Dec. 16.

“I want to fight Moreno again,” Royval said. “If he beats [Amir] Albazi, I want that Moreno rematch right away.”

Of course, Moreno will be in attendance at UFC 296, serving as the backup fighter for the co-main event, and then he’ll shift gears towards his scheduled matchup against Amir Albazi in February.

Whether it’s ultimately Pantoja or Moreno next, Royval just wants to stay as busy as possible once he’s champion. He doesn’t want the flyweight division to fall stagnant during his reign.

Royval had to sit and watch Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo battle back and forth in four fights before they finally settled their rivalry and allowed a new contender to emerge. So while he has his sights set on a pair of potential rematches, Royval acknowledges that he mostly wants to keep the division moving, and those would probably be the most likely fights awaiting him anyway.

“I want to stay active as a champion,” Royval said. “It’s just to the point where the flyweight division’s been held up for so long that I don’t want to be a champion that sits back and waits. I want to go out there and run through the division as quickly as possible and move on to my next endeavor.

“I want to fight Moreno or Pantoja immediately after this fight. I think those are the proper callouts. I think those are what I want as a man to secure my legacy and secure what I already think that I’m a better fighter than both these guys. But I have a big fat ‘what if’ with Moreno and also if I beat Pantoja, it’s 1-1. I don’t want to end anybody with a tie. I want to end that s***. I want to put a nail in the coffin and let the whole world know I’m the better fighter.”

Once he gets through one or both of those fights, Royval wants to stay a fighting champion because he knows there’s going to be a long list of potential opponents champing at the bit to get at him — and he’s anxious to fight all of them.

If he models his career after anybody in the sport, Royval might send a message to the flyweight division that ends with “don’t be scared homie.”

“My favorite fighter in the world is Nick Diaz and my favorite era of fighting is when Nick Diaz was Strikeforce champion,” Royval said. “That fool was fighting every other month. I want that. I want to be that. I feel like, for reasons not of my own, but playing this road smart, I haven’t been as active these past few years. Like, I’m top five, what am I going to do? Go fight No. 10? I’m not going to go way back there and keep fighting No. 7 or No. 10, so I took all these fights behind me, almost cleared out the division behind me, but that being said, I still have to be smart and look out for my career and what I want for my career, which is a title shot.

“Now that I’m here, once I win this belt, I have a good opportunity to defend that belt. I feel like Nick Diaz has been one of my bigger influences as far as MMA goes. Never scared. There’s plenty of stuff I’ve [borrowed] from him. Not a bad person to look up to.”

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