UFC’s Brandon Royval to undergo shoulder surgery, focus on entering title picture in 2021

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Nolan King
·3 min read
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At the beginning of 2020, Brandon Royval wasn’t even on the UFC roster. At year’s end, he is the promotion’s No. 6-ranked flyweight.

But his success came with a cost.

Royval (12-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) sustained a shoulder injury at UFC 255 and lost a title-eliminator fight against Brandon Moreno in November. The damage was significant and he will undergo surgery Jan. 7.

“The outlook is looking like surgery at this point,” Royval recently revealed to MMA Junkie. “I have a torn labrum and I chipped some bones away through repetitive damage of having that torn labrum. It’s looking like surgery at this point, which is very unfortunate. At least I can get this problem fixed a little bit and move on with it. … I’m at the gym right now, but all I’m doing is jogging and throwing up kicks and stuff.”

Shoulder issues have been ongoing for Royval. So as for the upcoming, daunting process of surgery, recovery, and rehab, Royval has been there and done that.

“I’ve had two shoulder surgeries, and that’s why if you see in my corner, my cornerman looked like a goddamn doctor in there,” Royval said. “He’s popped my shoulder back in with my other arm and (before) my other surgeries and stuff. He’s done that before.

“It’ll be about six months’ recovery. Shoulder surgery sucks. What they’re probably looking to do is remove a piece of my collarbone and put it on the bridge of my shoulder, because I’ve been chipping away at that bone for so long, I fractured it. I kind of chipped around the bones that keep your shoulder in place, so they’re looking to remove a piece of my collarbone and put it in there.”

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Despite the difficult ending to a breakthrough year, Royval thinks the timing of his injury will work to his benefit. UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno fought to a draw Dec. 12 at UFC 256. A rematch is expected to happen in 2021. That means Royval can take time to rehab the shoulder without losing standing in the divisional race.

“I think (the rematch) holds up the division a little bit,” Royval said. “I kind of want that. They’re (the next fight) and they want a full training camp to fight each other, which is great. That’s going to be like, what? They’re probably going to fight again in three to four months. That kind of holds up the division for me. That’s a little bit encouraging for me. I don’t lose too much rank and all that stuff. I can kind of get back right where it is. That’s encouraging to me.”

Having faced Moreno, Royval knew Moreno would do well in his bout with Figueiredo. When he’s healed up and healthy, Royval likes the idea of a rematch with Moreno sometime in 2021.

“It was cool to see Brandon Moreno do good (against Figueiredo),” Royval said. “I already knew he was going to do good against Deiveson. I think Deiveson is a little overrated. … Ideally for me, if Brandon Moreno loses the rematch, I could possibly get that fight back. That’d be great because I want to restore (my standing) and just to show what I can do out there more than anything. I feel like I didn’t get a chance to showcase my skills in a sense. I would love that rematch but whatever can get me back in the picture and get me some hype or whatever it is.”