Coming off a victory over Nate Williams at LFA 79 last November, flyweight Brandon Royval appeared to have his path set for 2020 with an invitation to Dana White’s Contender Series when the novel coronavirus struck and put a hold to those plans.
At the time events started getting canceled as lockdown ensued, Royval was maintaining his availability should he get a call up prior to a fight on the Contender Series.
“I knew right after that Nate Williams that I was on Dana White’s Contender Series, so I knew that was going to happen,” Royval told MMAWeekly.com. “I was just staying ready and getting prepared.
“I always knew the UFC could be a potential option if someone dropped out or if something happened. I think I marked every flyweight fight on the calendar and just stayed busy until then. I was hoping there was an opportunity in the process of all of that.”
When lockdown started being imposed, gym availability became an issue, forcing Royval to find anywhere he could to keep his regimen going.
“I would only know where I was going to train the day before,” said Royval. “Sometimes I was training at a boxing gym, sometimes I was training at a taekwondo or karate gym, and sometimes I would go to my parent’s house and train in their basement.
“In Colorado, we’re still on lockdown, so I think we’re allowed to only have four people in the gym now, so I’m just getting pretty much privates with a couple of my teammates my size, and that just started.”
The ability to stay ready helped Royval (10-4) as he will make his promotional debut versus Tim Elliott (15-10-1) in a 125-pound preliminary bout at UFC on ESPN: Woodley vs. Burns on May 30 in Las Vegas.
“I think I just have to go out there and be myself,” Royval said. “I think (Elliott’s) style and my style is going to be a perfect match-up. I know I’m a lot more technical more than him. I also think I have that I have a little more unpredictability too. That’s going to make for an exciting fight.
“He’s a banger. He brings it every fight. He’s unpredictable. He has that awkward style. He fights off beat and doesn’t fight on rhythm at all. That gives me a little bit of an opportunity to go out there and do a little bit of the same. I just fight what I would say a lot more technical than him.”
Now that he’s in the UFC, Royval is looking forward to establishing himself in the flyweight division in 2020, starting with a good showing versus Elliott on May 30.
“(Going into the UFC directly rather than going through the Contender Series) just speeds up the process for me,” said Royval. “It speeds up the process of what I want to accomplish this year.
“I’m very excited for my year and I can’t wait to go out there and prove myself against a crafty vet, a guy who does a lot of great stuff, and who has done a lot of great stuff for my division. This is a big opportunity for start making a name for myself and to get to where I want to be.”