UFC flyweight star Joseph Benavidez has issued a statement after his decision loss to rising Russian contender Askar Askarov.
Benavidez and Askarov met on the undercard of Saturday’s UFC 259 card in Las Vegas. Despite a spirited effort, Benavidez lost by unanimous decision, marking his third defeat in as many fights.
Speaking on social media, Benavidez issued a quick statement after this latest setback.
“Just want to say thank you for everyone who supported or reached out before during and after,” Benavidez wrote on Instagram on Monday. “Tough night and I have so many thoughts, I’m just taking it In stride but wanted to show appreciation for the support and the opportunity to compete.”
Prior to losing to Askarov, Benavidez came up short in a pair of fights with Deiveson Figueiredo. The first occurred in February of 2020, and saw Benavidez stopped with first-round punches. The second went down in August of the same year. That time around, Figueiredo submitted Benavidez in round one. Both bouts were intended to crown the new UFC flyweight champion, but because Figueiredo missed weight for he first fight, he was ineligible to win the title—hence the immediate rematch.
Before Benavidez stepped into the cage with Askarov, there was some speculation that he might retire after the bout—win or lose. While it’s currently unclear what his future holds, it doesn’t sound as though he’ll be receiving any pressure to retire from UFC President Dana White.
Dana White says he doesn't need to have a conversation with Joseph Benavidez about retirement #UFc259
— Fightful MMA (@FightfulMMA) March 7, 2021
On the heels of his losses to Askarov and Figueiredo, Benavidez is now 28-8-0 overall. While he is widely considered one of the best flyweights in MMA history, a UFC title has eluded him to this point in his career. That being said, he’s contended for UFC gold on four occasions—in his two fights with Figueiredo, and in a pair of fights with Demetrious Johnson.
What do you think the future holds for Joseph Benavidez after UFC 259?