Next Saturday’s UFC 225 pay-per-view card in Chicago, Illinois is one of the most stacked cards of the year. The event will host a whopping 16 ranked UFC fighters competing against one another. With so much talent, some fighters were bound to be positioned in spots they wouldn’t be fond of.
One of those being one of the two fighters who are ranked as #1 contenders in their divisions, Joseph Benavidez.
Benavidez has been a perennial top contender in both the flyweight division since it’s UFC inception and the bantamweight division when he fought there prior. Coming off an ACL tear in May 2017, Benavidez will finally be returning to action.
Being one of if not the most underrated fighter of all time and still ranked highly, Benavidez didn’t at all agree with his card placement as he told ESPN.
“No other person, in any division, with a No. 1 ranking and six wins in a row, would be buried on Fight Pass. What other theory is there to have besides they are snubbing [the flyweight division] or it’s something personal towards me?
You want to be respected by your bosses and peers. I’ve gone through a lot to get here. I’m doing my job. And that No. 1 ranking next to my name says I’m doing my job better than a good percentage of everyone else. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Benavidez makes a solid case. There are three fights above him on the card that feature fighters that aren’t even ranked at all in the UFC’s rankings.
Regardless, Benavidez is back. And despite all the negatives and through all the tough times while he was sidelined, he tried to find the positives whether it be for himself or even his stagnant 125-pound division that he was away from.
“That was actually one positive thing I was looking at [with the injury], was maybe I was going to be out and there would some crazy mixup in the division. It’s actually worse and nothing has changed at all.
I’ve always thought that as far as skill goes, it’s no question. If you want to have the two best people fight, we’re gonna have amazing fights. I think a sixth fight [with Demetrious Johnson] would be more marketable than some of the fights he’s had to fill a card and defend his title.”
Benavidez will be taking on Sergio Pettis in the third fight on the Fight Pass portion of UFC 225. While not confirmed, assuming he gets this seventh win in a row over Pettis, his last opponent, and rival, Henry Cejudo has claimed that they will rematch over an interim title.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/30/2018.