Joseph Benavidez believes the headbutt in his fight against Deiveson Figueiredo was the reason behind his loss.
At UFC Norfolk, Benavidez was fighting Figueiredo for the vacant flyweight title. Yet, the Brazilian missed weight leaving the American as the only one who could win the title.
In the fight, Figueiredo nearly submitted Benavidez in the first. Then, in the second round, the two had an accidental headbutt. It cut the American and right after, he was dropped by a big right hand and finished via ground and pound.
Following the fight, UFC president Dana White said he wanted to book a rematch and part of the reason is due to the headbutt. For Benavidez, he says the clash of heads changed the entire fight.
“100 percent. If the headbutt didn’t happen, I feel I was getting in a good groove. I obviously won the first round, and I think it was only a matter of time before I continued to get to my groove, continued to find more shots, continued to find even more takedowns. I mean, the guy was very springy and strong at the beginning,” Joseph Benavidez said to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter. “But, the headbutt altered everything. I didn’t know where I was after the headbutt.
“It was one of those things that rattled you so bad, I wasn’t present,” he continued. “I clearly just walked straight backwards with my hands down. And I rubbed my eye as the guy that was trying to finish me was right in front of me. A focused, present fighter, that wouldn’t have happened. I literally, I didn’t really know what had happened or where I was.
“So yeah, that was 100 percent the beginning of the end. I didn’t know where I was, that led to him swarming me and punching me, which yeah, for him, the fight wasn’t stopped, he just saw blood,” Benavidez concluded. “He saw me probably obviously rocked and did what he thought he’d do. He might not even known there was a headbutt either. I’m sure he did but it wasn’t stopped. Yeah, I mean that altered everything.”
Whether or not the same result would’ve happened without the headbutt is unknown. But, we will be able to see when the two rematch later this year.
Do you agree with Joseph Benavidez that the head butt altered the entire fight against Deiveson Figueiredo? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/4/2020.