Two Years Ago, He Was An Uber Driver — Now Alexandre Pantoja Is A UFC Champion
(Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
— 11 July 2023

Two Years Ago, He Was An Uber Driver — Now Alexandre Pantoja Is A UFC Champion

— 11 July 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Alexandre Pantoja’s journey to UFC 290 was far more inspiring than we’d realised.

Prior to his five-round Fight of the Year candidacy against defending champion Brandon Moreno — who he’d actually beaten twice before — like far too many professional fighters, the newly-crowned king of the flyweight division had struggled to make ends meet.

It was to the point that just two years (and two fights) ago, the Brazilian talent was actually forced to ferry Uber Eats deliveries.

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“After the pandemic, after my fight with Manel [Kape], I give some money to my family back in Brazil,” Alexandre Pantoja revealed to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

“They need to be taken of more than me in the US, and I come back to the US again alone. It was eight months without my family, and that’s very hard for me… that’s about sacrifice for me, you know?”

Pantoja continued: “I won the fight with Manel and put all the money in a down payment for that house, and bring my family back, it was more important to myself. But when my family back, the money short.”

“My wife started to clean houses, and I started to drive Uber. I do this again if I needed, you know? Because it’s not just about myself. This is about my family, this is about my kids.”

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Two Years Ago, He Was An Uber Driver — Now Alexandre Pantoja Is A UFC Champion
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 08: Alexandre Pantoja of Brazil exits the Octagon after his UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 290 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 08, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Pantoja went on to explain how the move to the US was already benefiting his two sons; who are improving their English to a level he himself will “never have.”

“I look Moreno in the eyes… I can feel this like a movie, you know?” said Alexandre Pantoja of his closely-contested title fight, which resulted in a split decision victory in his favour.

“Because my history, maybe you have some times people say you never gonna get that. But in my life, I have a lot of people say I gonna get the belt.”

“When this make the true, I see it’s all God connections, you know? God put me in that moment for one reason. God give me people in roles to help me.”

Alexandre Pantoja is believed to have earned close to $1 million USD from UFC 290 — $350,000 base purse, $100,000 win bonus, $50,000 performance bonus, plus another $400,000 “potential bonus” probably related to pay-per-view points (according to Total Sport).

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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