Dealing with a knee injury since Summer of last year, Joseph Benavidez has been out on the sidelines watching the flyweight division move on without him. Only, it hasn’t really moved on. The unstoppable Demetrious Johnson is still at the top and all the major players have also been beat by Benavidez. That’s why when he makes his triumphant return against Sergio Pettis at UFC 225, he wants to prove he’s still number one and get another crack at Mighty Mouse.
“For anyone who says I shouldn’t [get a shot] or that I’ve fought him twice or whatever — I realize when there is money to be made, maybe you’ll pick the No. 8 guy in the division because it will sell more. But with our division, there’s not a star. Demetrious [Johnson]is the best fighter ever, and he’s not a star. So what do we really have? All we have is our talent. That’s what’s great about the division, you can see things that 125-pound guys can do that some other guys can’t. All we have is our skill. So if we don’t have a big fight, why wouldn’t you have the best fighters fight?”
Joseph Benavidez. pic.twitter.com/IPBwicn3y1
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 9, 2018
“I think we could fight 10 times and it would be just as exciting as him fighting anyone else. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a big or small way of asking for this. What am I gonna do? Get an airplane and write it in the sky? The UFC knows I want it. They know I’m the next best guy. I think right now, there’s a valid point for me to not get a title fight, because of the injury. But if I win seven in a row, I don’t think there’s an argument against it anymore. […] No one realizes when fighters are out. They just remember their last fight and how they look now.” — Joseph Benavidez speaking to ESPN.
If Demetrious Johnson truly is the Jon Jones of flyweight, then Joseph Benavidez definitely has to be Daniel Cormier. At flyweight, he’s only loss to Mighty Mouse twice. At bantamweight, he’s only loss to Dominick Cruz twice. Back as far as 2006, those are the only four losses he’s had in his entire career. He’s the best of the best who has only fallen short against the very rare fighters who are even better that. On June 9th, he’ll look to prove he’s the same Benavidez and if he wins, he’ll try to finally conquer the unconquerable.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/9/2018.