Joseph Benavidez recently explained why he doesn’t need to beat Henry Cejudo to be worthy of the flyweight title.
This weekend at UFC Norfolk, Benavidez will face Deiveson Figueiredo for the flyweight strap. The 125-pound belt is up for grabs ever since Henry Cejudo was stripped of the title.
Benavidez has fought Cejudo before. The pair coached fellow flyweights on The Ultimate Fighter 24, then entered the Octagon right after the show was aired. Benavidez inched forward in the closely contested bout and claimed the split decision victory.
Even though “Triple C,” eventually went on to claim the flyweight belt with a victory over Demetrious Johnson (someone who Benavidez failed to beat twice,) Benavidez doesn’t see what is to gain from fighting the relinquished titleholder again.
He also appreciates the opportunity to fight for the title without the media circus that usually follows Cejudo.
“No, honestly not at all,” Benavidez said (via MMA Junkie). “It’s honestly refreshing. This is like, beautiful. We’re in a quiet place. It’s peaceful, like a quiet town; we’re right by the beach. It’s just low-key. It’s nice. I think it would just be a circus with ‘Triple C,’ and not to mention, I already beat him and fought him, and the goal is to win a title, not to beat a guy you’ve already beat. Like that’s the last thing you want to do, honestly. The only thing that’s appealing is the title, not him. So it’s always been about the title, not fighting him again.
“I think it would be harder if it was ‘DJ’ or something or someone that beat me. It’s like, ‘Ah, I’m never going to beat them, but at least I’m getting the title opportunity.’ I already beat the guy, and it was up to him to not come try and avenge a loss and not put up a fight and do something else, so it’s easy for me when I already have a win over him.”
Instead, the 35-year old will be taking on number three ranked contender, Figueiredo who is coming off a first-round victory over Tim Elliott. Do you think Joseph Benavidez has what it takes to win the flyweight gold this weekend?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/28/2020.