Longtime UFC flyweight title contender Joseph Benavidez admits that he already had one foot out the door before his final UFC fight.
Benavidez fought Askar Askarov earlier this year at UFC 259 and suffered a unanimous decision defeat in what marked the final fight of his UFC career. For a fighter who was for years one of the best in the world in his weight class, he just didn’t look like the same fighter against Askarov. Six months later, and Benavidez announced that he is done with MMA. After so many years in the sport, he finally made the decision to hang up his gloves.
According to Benavidez, who recently spoke to Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com, this decision to retire was in consideration months ago, even before he took the Askarov fight.
“Before my fight with Askar, I actually wanted that to be my last fight. I knew that was going to be my last fight. Through training, through my camp, the walkout and everything, I changed my walkout song even and it wasn’t an intentional retirement song or anything but it was kind of like it was a song that I always wanted to walk out to, Billy Joel’s The Entertainer. I knew all through. After the fight, I really knew it was the right choice because of the way I felt in there. I didn’t want to feel like that again,” Benavidez said.
While Benavidez wouldn’t go so far as to say he was scared to step into the Octagon against Askarov, he fully admits that he was scared to lose. Knowing that he already had one foot out the door, the decision to retire came easy following the loss to Askarov.
“I’ve never been scared honestly in a fight in my life, no matter what I was doing, who I was fighting, how big it was. I wasn’t necessarily scared of Askarov or anything. It’s not like he was intimidating. I’ve fought everybody. But I was scared to lose and I’ve never felt that before,” Benavidez said. “I let it all out and if that ends in a loss, it does, but I know I gave it everything and I have nothing left and I take the chances. But I was almost so scared to lose that I didn’t try and win. It takes the possibility of losing to try to win but I was just getting through it. It was almost like I couldn’t wait for it to end.”
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