Joseph Benavidez has opened up on his fighting future after a tough loss to Askar Askarov at last weekend’s UFC 259 card.
Benavidez’s loss to Askarov, a unanimous decision, marked his third setback in a row, as he was also recently beaten in a pair of fights with Deiveson Figueiredo.
On the heels of these losses, Benavidez admits he hasn’t been feeling himself in the cage—or in practice—lately.
“If talking about everything, I just couldn’t find the adrenaline, the excitement and explosiveness,” Benavidez said on his At Home with Benalivi podcast. “It’s a tough realization because I feel like why couldn’t I find that? You come to this point I think in every sport that you just feel like you’re not the same person in there anymore. I’m not who maybe I used to be in there and I’ve had those thoughts a long time, you know, fighting for 15 years.
“I’ve even had it in practice leading up to this sometimes, but practice is practice. Day in and day out, sometimes you have a good day, sometimes you have a bad day. But yeah, in the fight that’s how I felt. Some of the things that came so naturally to me like the scramble, like I’m mister scramble. And I see in the second round I got held down, and that was never a worry for me because taking me down is like taking yourself down – it’s pretty hard to hold me down. It wasn’t a thing (I worried about).”
After his loss to Askarov, Benavidez is unsure what his future holds, but is reluctant to make any hasty decisions.
“I thought I could get out of that disappointment (from the losses to Figueiredo), win, knock this guy off, and show I can compete at the top and have that rare opportunity to walk away on top, or at least still competing with the best, which I have always done in my career,” Benavidez said. “I thought I could avoid that inevitable disappointment and just somehow get it. It’s just hard. Not that if I would’ve won or lost had anything decided as far as my future goes. You win and you still feel good. I never had a plan in mind. I wanted this year to have a fight or two, and we’ll see how it goes. It was just about having fun.”
Joseph Benavidez, 36, has competed for the UFC flyweight title on multiple occasions, but has yet to win a belt with the promotion. Nonetheless, he’s known as one of the best flyweights in MMA history.
What do you think the future holds for Benavidez after UFC 259?