Alexandre Pantoja Teases “Huge” Fight With Someone Nobody Will Expect

UFC flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja appears excited by talks regarding the next challenger for his title, claiming that it’ll be a ‘huge’ fight against an opponent no one is expecting.

“UFC has already talked to me,” Pantoja told reporters at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony. “I expect something in in two, three months. I (cannot) say anything right now but it’s going to be huge for everyone and one name that I think nobody will expect. I’m super glad about the name. Very good for my career, it’s huge for me.”

That seems to suggest it won’t be one of the current leading contenders, which isn’t too surprising given that he’s already beaten the current No.1 and No.2 ranked contenders Brandon Royval and Brandon Moreno in the past year.

Pantoja did go on to mention fighters like Muhammed Mokaev (No.6) and Manel Kape (No.8), who will fight each other in July, along with Tatsuro Taira (No.5), but while he praises them it doesn’t sound like he’s expecting to face any of them next.

“Manel Kape’s very solid. About Muhammad Mokaev, some people need to see something more. I’m one of those guys. With Manel, it’s going to be huge for both guys. But I’m super happy about my division.

“We have very good names. The division’s on fire. You have Tatsuro (Taira), a couple main events we have. Super happy about the division. I love to see the fans defend my division saying, ‘Hey, shut your mouth you casual, you don’t understand anything.’ That’s what I think too.”

So who could this mystery title challenger be?

Perhaps it could be a well known bantamweight dropping down to challenge themselves at flyweight, and no doubt some fans will be daydreaming about the return of a former flyweight kingpin in Demetrious Johnson.

However, there are signs that it could be someone that a lot of fans might not be aware of yet – Japanese star Kai Asakura, who recently signed for the UFC from the Rizin promotion, where he was their bantamweight champion and holds a 21-4 career record.

If so, Pantoja’s enthusiasm may be due to the fact that Asakura has a big following in Japan that has led to him becoming a YouTube star with 1.35 million subscribers.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.