3 possible next opponents for Alexandre Pantoja

Alexandre Pantoja defended his title at UFC 301 via a unanimous decision over Steve Erceg.
Alexandre Pantoja
Alexandre Pantoja / Steve Marcus/GettyImages
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Alexandre Pantoja (28-5) retained his flyweight title by defeating No. 10 ranked Steve Erceg (12-2) via unanimous decision in the UFC 301 main event. Fans who attended the event live in Rio de Janeiro and watched at home were privy to a back-and-forth war showcasing why flyweight is one of the UFC's most interesting divisions. This victory marked Pantoja's second consecutive title defense and sixth straight win overall.

Pantoja was on the wrong side of numerous elbows that bloodied his forehead. . However, Pantoja relied on his grappling, veteran fight IQ, and ability to exploit and reverse Erceg's late wrestling entries to secure control time.

Flyweight features an abundance of contenders worthy of future title opportunities. Erceg skipped quite a few fighters en route to his UFC 301 fight, and despite his performance, he's unlikely to garner an immediate rematch.

It's uncertain when Pantoja will step back in the Octagon. Pantoja has kept a frantic schedule since capturing the title from Brandon Moreno (21-8-2) in 2023. He indicated wanting a hiatus and said, "I think I need a bit of a break," in his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier. He asserted, "Give me a break, please," in a backstage interview with Karyn Bryant.

Regardless of when Pantoja returns, numerous challengers await an opportunity to take his belt. Each potential opponent will likely have to make their respective case for in title eliminator bouts. Most top-ten flyweights have either already previously lost to Pantoja or need a strong showing in their next fight regardless to cement status as the top contender. Here are some possible fighters Pantoja could find himself across the Octagon from the next time he looks to defend his title.