While many outlets are putting together their year end superlatives for 2019, Matt Schnell has already made an argument for being one of the flyweight division’s breakout performers. On Saturday, Schnell has the opportunity to put an exclamation mark on an impressive year when he faces Alexandre Pantoja at UFC on ESPN+ 23.
The event will take place at Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea and will be headlined by a featherweight matchup between Frankie Edgar and Chan Sung Jung. While most of the card will air on ESPN+, the preliminary fight card — including the flyweight matchup between Schnell and Pantoja — will air on ESPN television in the US.
“Danger” spoke to MyMMANews.com about why he is OK with being on the prelims in Busan, his most recent first round submission win over Jordan Espinosa at UFC Newark, becoming a father in a few months, his reaction to getting a top-five opponent in Pantoja, how he sees the fight playing out, whether or not he can jump the rest of the division with a win on Saturday, why he wants LFA flyweight champion Brandon Royval on the UFC roster, and much more.
In addition, Schnell wants to set the record straight when it comes to the chatter that dual champion Henry Cejudo is the savior of the exciting and entertaining flyweight division.
“I just want to say that I have all the respect in the world for everybody in this division but we’ve got to continue to go out there and toe the line,” Schnell told MyMMANews.com. “I know people are saying that Henry saved this division. It doesn’t look like he saved much to me. I still feel unsure about things and, by my estimation, me and Pantoja; we’re gonna save the division. Guys like Kai Kara-France and Brandon Moreno, they’re the ones saving the division. The guys that are getting out there fighting and scrapping, they’re the ones saving the division. Keep that in mind and everybody better start recognizing.
“Pay attention, it’s gonna get fun around here. I promise.”
Check out the full interview with Matt Schnell as he prepares to take on Alexandre Pantoja this Saturday at UFC Busan in the video above.