The main event of UFC Norfolk on February 29 will see Joseph Benavidez get another chance at UFC flyweight gold, when he takes on Deiveson Figueiredo. The title became vacant back in December when former flyweight champion Henry Cejudo relinquished his title as he focuses on challengers in the bantamweight division.
While there is history between Cejudo and Benavidez, he’s got his focus set on winning UFC gold, something he’s almost accomplished earlier in his career. During an interview with Jimmy Smith and Miesha Tate of MMA Tonight on Sirius XM, Benavidez was asked about the situation regarding the flyweight title and his former opponent Henry Cejudo.
Benavidez told MMA Tonight on Sirius XM that he knew that Cejudo’s focus on the bantamweight division, specifically after his victory over Marlon Moraes at UFC 238, and that “Triple C” was done paying attention to the flyweight division.
“He wasn’t mentioning me in any interviews, he wasn’t mentioning the flyweight division, I kind of knew where it was heading,” Benavidez said. “I was like ‘Look, I don’t want it to be for an interim, I want it to be for the vacant title.’ and the company did the right thing, it’s amazing, it’s like you never know what to expect.”
After Henry Cejudo moved up to the bantamweight division while holding both titles, there was not much discussion about him moving back to flyweight. Because there have been other cases of two-division champions holding up multiple divisions with inactivity, Benavidez believes something needs to change.
“I think the bigger picture with that is the double-champ thing in general, it always comes to this stalemate, no matter who you are,” he said. “When you’re going to put two divisions and multiple fighters on hold, for one person to kind of have that glory and accomplishment for a night, I think that’s something that maybe needs to change. They haven’t been able to execute that right moving forward after someone wins both titles.
What do you make of these comments from Joseph Benavidez?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/20/2020.