UFC flyweight contender Deiveson Figueiredo paid tribute to former opponent Joseph Benavidez following his retirement from MMA.
Figueiredo and Benavidez fought twice in 2020, with Figueiredo winning both of the fights. In the first fight in February 2020, Figueiredo knocked Benavidez out with punches after a headbutt led to the finish. In addition, Figueiredo had missed weight for that fight and was not able to win the title. The UFC then re-booked the rematch due to the controversial ending, but this time around, the Brazilian proved he was the better fighter with a dominant first-round submission win. It was in the second fight that Figueiredo won the vacant flyweight belt. Overall, the pair had a very memorable pair of UFC title fights.
With tributes pouring in towards Benavidez in his retirement from MMA, Figueiredo wanted to make sure his former rival knows how much he respects him. Figueiredo took to his social media on Wednesday in the wake of Benavidez’s retirement announcement to praise his former foe, congratulate him on his career, and wish him the best of luck in the future.
I would like to thank @joejitsu for his great career in MMA, and also for the opportunities we had to fight. I wish you an excellent retirement and that you enjoy this new time with your family. God bless you!
Given their rivalry, it might seem a bit surprising that Figueiredo had such great things to say about Benavidez, but it just goes to show you how universally respected Benavidez is around the sport. While he was never able to reach the heights of being a UFC champion, Benavidez got close many times and overall is one of the top UFC fighters to not win a belt.
What are your memories of the two fights that Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez had?