After debuting in the UFC in May of 2020, former LFA flyweight Brandon Royval had a wild beginning to his UFC career. He kicked off the festivities with a back-and-forth fight of the night with Tim Elliott – ultimately winning by submission. Then he finished Kai Kara-France less than four months later, nabbing another fight of the night bonus in the process. However, that wasn’t enough for the Factory X product who then took a quick turnaround against Brandon Moreno. In the end of the first round, Royval’s shoulder popped out of socket – something it apparently had been doing fairly regularly. The injury cost him a TKO loss and much of the momentum he had built up in six short months.
Now, his shoulder has been fixed and he’s had some time to watch a bit more of the division he took by storm last year. That includes watching his last opponent take that momentum he had right to a title shot and, eventually, the title. While that might leave some people bitter, Royval is both happy for him and happy for the situation.
“I think it’s super cool, man. I could not be happier for a better person – Brandon Moreno getting that belt,” Royval said, noting that it also helps get him jacked up. “If that’s not the most motivating goddamn thing in the world, then I don’t know what is.”
He said he thinks about that bout when he wakes up in the morning. The fact that he thinks he could have, and maybe would have, beat the now champion helped get him through the long layoff and tough training camp.
“That sh*t gets me out of bed every goddamn day, hungry as f*ck,” he said. “[I’m] ready to go and let everybody know that that fight was just a fluke and I think that there’s not too much question about that.”
Of course, Alexandre Pantoja now stands in the way of that. However, Royval thinks that when he gets through this Saturday’s test, he will likely jump over former champion Deiveson Figueiredo, who is angling for a trilogy fight with Moreno.
“It’d be a trilogy [with Figueiredo] or the winner of this fight, and I’m going to give them no doubts to f*ucking give me that title shot,” he said. “I’m going to go out there and make a statement – let them know that I would have been a champion a long time ago if they would have signed me earlier or if my shoulder didn’t pop out of place.”
Now how does he plan on making a statement against Pantoja? It doesn’t have to be one way or another. He just plans on bringing the action and making it so that people want to see him in there with the champ ASAP.
“I’m going to make that statement by putting pressure on him. I’m going to make that statement by being adaptable and showing everybody what I worked on,” Royval said. “I guess you’re going to have to tune in because I’m going to go out there guns blazing and I know he’s going to do the same.”
You can catch Royval’s fight with Alexandre Pantoja as part of the UFC Vegas 34 main card this Saturday. That fight will air on ESPN and ESPN+.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:06.