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Alexandre Pantoja of Brazil returns to his corner between rounds of his UFC flyweight championship fight against Brandon Moreno of Mexico during the UFC 290 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 08, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Alexandre Pantoja Breaks Down The Flyweight Division

UFC Flyweight Champion Alexandre Pantjoa Goes One By One Through The 125-Pound Rankings To Give His Thoughts On Each Of His Peers.

Getting to the top of the mountain wasn’t easy, but UFC flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja knows that staying at the top will be even harder.

That’s why “The Cannibal” isn’t viewing his upcoming bout with Brandon Royval at UFC 296: Edwards vs Covington as a title defense. Instead, he sees it as conquering another belt and earning another world title. By using that lens to view his position as champion, the 33-year-old feels that he’s only just getting started.

Alexandre Pantoja Breaks Down The Flyweight Division
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Alexandre Pantoja Breaks Down The Flyweight Division
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And there’s a ton of fun fights for him at flyweight. Yes, there’s his showdown with Royval, but there are new contenders and former foes that are chomping at the bit to take his belt.

We caught up with the champ to discusses the flyweight rankings and his thoughts on the fighters that are in contention to try to dethrone him.

No. 10 – Muhammad Mokaev

 Muhammad Mokaev of Russia punches Tim Elliott in a bantamweight fight during the UFC 294 event at Etihad Arena on October 21, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Muhammad Mokaev of Russia punches Tim Elliott in a bantamweight fight during the UFC 294 event at Etihad Arena on October 21, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Mokaev is one of the guys who came here to American Top Team. He had a good time here. He’s a very good guy, a very good talented guy. Maybe he talks too much, but I like him; he’s very good. He’s good for all the division. He proved a lot with Jafel Filho. This kid has a lot of heart.”

No. 9 – Matt Schnell

Matt Schnell reacts after his victory over Sumudaerji of China in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UBS Arena

Matt Schnell reacts after his victory over Sumudaerji of China in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UBS Arena on July 16, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Matt Schnell is a very nice guy. He’s very humble and has worked very hard for his dream. I have a lot of respect for him.”

No. 8 – Manel Kape

Manel Kape of Angola punches Felipe dos Santos of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC 293 event at Qudos Bank Arena on September 10, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Manel Kape of Angola punches Felipe dos Santos of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC 293 event at Qudos Bank Arena on September 10, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“A legitimate guy. He’s very good and very talented. I loved sharing the Octagon with him and he proved a lot. He came from fighting with one of the contenders and I’m sure if I keep the belt, he’ll come to fight with me again.”

No. 7 – Alex Perez

Alex Perez celebrates after his TKO victory over Jussier Formiga in their flyweight bout during the UFC 250 event at UFC APEX on June 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Alex Perez celebrates after his TKO victory over Jussier Formiga in their flyweight bout during the UFC 250 event at UFC APEX on June 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Alex Perez is a very good guy who maybe lost his [focus] the last few years. A lot of cancelled fights, but still good. Alex Perez is the one guy I trained a lot for when I had to fight him. He made me evolve my game.”

No. 6 – Matheus Nicolau

Matheus Nicolau of Brazil kicks Matt Schnell in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Amway Center
Matheus Nicolau of Brazil kicks Matt Schnell in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Amway Center

“I trained a lot with Matheus Nicolau in Brazil. He’s a very talented guy and very smart. I think he has much more to show in the UFC.”

No. 5 – Kai Kara-France

Kai Kara-France em sua entrada para enfrentar Amir Albazi na luta principal do UFC Vegas 74. (Foto por Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Kai Kara-France em sua entrada para enfrentar Amir Albazi na luta principal do UFC Vegas 74. (Foto por Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Kara-France is a very good fighter and very humble guy. Kara-France is one guy that has a strong right hand. Very talented.”

No. 4 – Brandon Royval

Brandon Royval celebrates after his victory over Matt Schnell in a flyweight fight during the UFC 274
Brandon Royval celebrates after his victory over Matt Schnell in a flyweight fight during the UFC 274

“Very aggressive. I like his style of fighting. I know 100% it’s going to be Fight of the Night on December 16. He’s a different fighter. It’s a very different fight from my first fight with Royval because a lot of things have happened in my life and my body wasn’t 100% in that moment, but my mind went to another level. This made a difference. Right now, I have another fight with him and it’s a different moment. I need to respect this moment. I know I can prove it again.”

Order UFC 296: Edwards vs Covington

No. 3 – Amir Albazi

Amir Albazi of Iraq punches Kai Kara-France of New Zealand in a flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 03, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Amir Albazi of Iraq punches Kai Kara-France of New Zealand in a flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 03, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“This guy climbed the rankings, but he needs to prove a little bit more. He’s going to fight with Brandon Moreno right now and it’s going to be an awesome fight. He can prove how much he deserves to fight for the title.”

No. 2 – Deiveson Figueiredo

Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil prepares to fight Brandon Moreno of Mexico in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil prepares to fight Brandon Moreno of Mexico in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“For me, he’s one of the best in the flyweight division. He’s one of the guys who put fear in our division. He has a lot of beautiful performances and when Deiveson Figueiredo goes to fight, everybody stops to watch it. After defending the belt, taking the belt, and losing the belt to Moreno, he lost his [focus]. I hope he is back to his prime shape, but I don’t know if he can do that.”

No. 1 – Brandon Moreno

 Brandon Moreno of Mexico punches Alexandre Pantoja of Brazil in the UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 290 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 08, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Brandon Moreno of Mexico punches Alexandre Pantoja of Brazil in the UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 290 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 08, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“I love when Moreno said, ‘I don’t know if it’s today, I don’t know if it’s tomorrow, but one day I’m going to be a champion.’ That’s so beautiful. When I fought with Moreno on The Ultimate Fighter, he was No. 16 and I was No. 1, and everybody thought I was an easy fight because I had a very hard fight with him. At No. 16, nobody was about Moreno, but then he left the house and went straight to the UFC and made a Fight of the Night bonus performance. He proved how much he deserved this. I think he [inspired] everybody thinking about going to the UFC. He’s a legitimate guy.”

The Champion – Alexandre Pantoja

Alexandre Pantoja of Brazil reacts to the finish of his UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 290 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 08, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Alexandre Pantoja of Brazil reacts to the finish of his UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 290 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 08, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“I’m a very humble guy and I worked very hard for what’s happening in my life right now. Every day when I go to sleep, I say, ‘Thank you, God,’ for everything he gives to me. I feel so blessed. The world of fights doesn’t need to give anything to me because it gives me too much. I’m living now in the United States, I brought my family here, my kids have a lot of opportunity right now, and I have the belt. Right now, I’m in another chapter of my life. It’s about conquering much more. It’s not about defending, it’s about getting something more.”

Order UFC 296: Edwards vs Covington