Highly-touted flyweight Joseph Benavidez is fully aware of the stakes involved in his bout tonight at UFC on FX 2. As part of a quartet of 125-pound fighters ushering in the UFC’s newest division with a tournament aimed at determining the organization’s first flyweight champion Benavidez not only has a chance to put himself a win away from the title but also from making history as the first man to ever strap the belt around his waist.
Benavidez spoke about the prospect of winning gold shortly before weighing in yesterday where he humbly acknowledged the position he was in while also explaining how the drop in weight had affected him from a performance standpoint.
“That sounds great,” said Benavidez in an interview on Fuel TV when asked about the prospect of winning the championship. “I mean, that’s a dream come true…to be UFC champion. Really, just to be in the UFC…I’m so blessed that this is my life, and the fact I’m one of the four competing in the inaugural flyweight tournament, I have a chance to be the first flyweight champion ever…I mean it’s huge.”
Though Benavidez hasn’t said he’d be willing to fight at bantamweight again, as fellow flyweight competitor Demetrious Johnson has, the Team Alpha Male fighter thinks he still could. However, given the improvements he’s seen since making the move to flyweight, it may be a moot point based on the success he’s expecting.
“At 135 I think I was a great fighter. Obviously I was ranked #2 in the world and I lost a Split Decision to the world champion, so I think I was right there and I could challenge for the title again there. But just going through this camp at 125 I feel it’s my natural weight-class. I’m faster and I’m not carrying around a bunch of unnatural weight like I had to at 135. I was pretty fast at 135. I’m faster here…better conditioning. Just the diet and everything has brought me a certain discipline and focus that I didn’t have to have at 135 so it makes for a dangerous fighter.”
Fans can catch all four flyweights mixing it up tonight at 9:00 PM EST on FX. Prelims begin at approximately 5:00 PM EST on Facebook/Fuel TV.
Here is the complete interview below:
MMATraining Take: It’s hard not to like Benavidez. He’s not only supremely talented but humorous and humble. I have no doubt he’ll be a stud at 125 as he was at 135 and, in my opinion, Benavidez should be seen as the favorite to win the flyweight tournament based on his past performances.