UFC champ Alexandre Pantoja blasts Sean Strickland: ‘Respect my job, I put food on my table with that’

Reigning flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja is gearing up for his second title defense. He will be taking on Steve Erceg in the highly anticipated main event of UFC 301 this weekend.

Pantoja recently responded to Sean Strickland’s remarks concerning the flyweight division.

In an interview with Shakiel Mahjouri of CBS Sports, Pantoja expressed his discontent with Strickland’s comments.

He stated: “Don’t say that. It’s crazy because people say that. You want [me to] lose my money [and] lose my job? That’s so crazy. Why [would] you say that? I’m very mad when Strickland said that for women and flyweight guys. Shut your mouth. Respect my job. I put food on my table with that. You’re crazy.”

Continuing his stance, Pantoja emphasized the dedication and hard work put in by every flyweight competitor. He highlighted the rigorous training regimen required in the division, as one needed to be good in grappling, cardio, striking, and overall versatility.

He continued: “Every flyweight worked so hard for that and that’s why everyone respects each other in the flyweights. It’s hard [when] you see someone say bad things about us because we work hard. That’s a very hard division. We need to be training 100% [of the] time. It’s not just about one punch here. You need to be good in grappling, good cardio, good striking, good every time in every place.”

Pantoja said that the flyweight division is tough. But due of the contenders’ small frames, it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. With aspirations to win his third consecutive title victory, Pantoja aims to emulate the feat achieved by Demetrious Johnson who secured 12 consecutive title wins.

On the opposing hand, Steve Erceg is currently ranked No.10 in the flyweight division. He offered his insights into the upcoming title bout. During an interview with Niko Pajarillo of Main Event TV, Erceg commended Pantoja’s character and determination while acknowledging areas of improvement.

He said: “I think he’s a great champion. I was talking about being a role model and I think he’s one of those people. He seems like a great dude. He really embodies determination, that sort of thing. He’s walking forward, doesn’t matter how tired he gets, he’s gonna keep pushing. But I do think, technically, he’s lacking in some areas and I’m going to exploit those areas to the best of my ability and come away as the new champion.”

Expressing his strategy, Erceg outlined his intentions to exploit Pantoja’s weaknesses and emerge victorious. Confident in his abilities, Erceg predicted a third-round finish in their title match.