Brandon Royval still wants title shot, but open to fighting ‘f****** boring’ Muhammad Mokaev next

Brandon Royval doesn’t think much of Muhammad Mokaev.

In February, Royval took home a split decision win over former champion Brandon Moreno at UFC Mexico City. Immediately afterward, Royvall called for another shot at UFC flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja next. But there are some issues. For one, Pantoja just beat Royval in December, winning a dominant unanimous decision — and for another, rising contender Mokaev exists.

This past weekend, Mokaev scored a lackluster unanimous decision win over Alex Perez at UFC Vegas 87 and he also called for a title shot against Pantoja. And unsurprisingly, Royval was not impressed by the 23-year-old’s performance.

“Maybe he beat Alex Perez, maybe not,” Royval said Monday on The MMA Hour. “He could be Alex Perez’s only win over a current UFC fighter. That being said, I don’t think it warrants a title fight. I didn’t think it was very impressive. After the first round it just seemed like he was done for. It is what it is. I just didn’t think it was that impressive.

“Any time I watch that kid fight I’m like, ‘This s*** is lame. This is boring.’ It is what it is. He started off the first round kind of strong or whatever, but that being said — by the time he fights again, I always forget what he brings to the table. Then I watch and like, ‘Oh yeah, this kid’s f****** boring.’ I get amnesia.”

While Mokaev called for a title shot next, he also appears to be interested in settling the brewing beef between he and Royval. After Royval dismissed his performance on Saturday, Mokaev fired back at the former title challenger and called for a fight in July when the UFC returns to Manchester, England. And while Royval is focused on another title shot, if this is the way the UFC wants to go, he’s also open to that, especially if it’s a main event.

“I think it goes very well. I love that matchup,” Royval said. “That’s not a fight I would ever turn down. That fight has never been offered to me. That being said, me and him are both trying to take aim at the title fight, so if one of us is going to get it, so be it. But we’ve been hyping up a fight for about a year now, so when that time comes, if one of us has a belt, or one of us doesn’t have a belt, if that’s a five-round fight, he’s dead.

“I prefer to fight anybody in a 25-minute fight. Anybody in this division in a 25-minute fight, I’m very confident … because 15 minutes, you can nullify a position for 15 minutes. You can squeeze out two rounds for sure and then maybe hold me down. I’ve never been the strongest fighter so I have been nullified before. I feel like that’s most of my losses. Twenty-five minutes, it’s really hard to do.”

Whether or not the UFC wants to pursue that is anyone’s guess at this point, as the flyweight title picture is one of the more inscrutable ones in the sport at the moment. But whether it’s Pantoja or Mokaev, Royval believes he’s done all he can to set himself up, and now the chips will fall as they may.

“I have no clue [what’s going to happen],” Royval said. “I feel like I did everything I could do. I went and took the short notice against Moreno, the No. 1 contender. I feel like if he would have won that fight, they were for sure going to give it to him no matter what. That being said, I don’t know if the situation changes because of who I am and who Moreno is.”

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