MMA legend Demetrious Johnson praised his former UFC flyweight division rival Joseph Benavidez following his recent retirement announcement.
Benavidez announced earlier this week that he is stepping away from MMA at age 37 and retiring. Since he announced that he is stepping away from the game, there have been a number of fellow fighters who have taken to social media to express their gratitude towards Benavidez, who was one of the best UFC fighters not to hold a belt over the past decade. One of those fighters who took to his social media to praise his former opponent is Johnson, who competed in a pair of memorable fights with Benavidez several years ago.
At UFC 152 in September 2012, Johnson defeated Benavidez via split decision to become the first-ever UFC flyweight champion. The two then rematched at UFC on FOX 9 in December 2013, with Johnson this time knocking Benavidez out cold. The two never ended up fighting each other for the third time, but they continue to have the utmost respect for each other as the two men who put the UFC flyweight division on the map. In the wake of Benavidez announcing his retirement from MMA, Johnson took to Instagram to praise him.
Demetrious Johnson: enjoy retirement @joejitsu you fu$#ing Legend!!!
Joseph Benavidez: Holy Shi*! Amazing pics! You’re the best, love you man!
Even though these two were bitter rivals during their heyday in the UFC, it’s clear that there is nothing but total and complete respect between Johnson and Benavidez. Back at a time when the flyweight division wasn’t exactly popular, it was Johnson and Benavidez that helped show MMA fans that the little guys could fight, too. And even all these years later, these two have nothing but the utmost admiration for each other for all they’ve done.
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