Flyweight Contender Joseph Benavidez Laid His Claim for the Next Title Shot After Destroying His Opponent Jussier Formiga in Minneapolis…
Joseph Benavidez is one of MMA’s ultimate nice guys. He’s also missed out on a title shot for way too long but that all looks set to change now that he’s beaten Jussier Formiga. The 34-year-old owns a win over current flyweight – and bantamweight – champion Henry Cejudo. He’d also previously beaten Formiga.
There are currently only 13 flyweights on the UFC roster which shows you how uncertain life is for the roster’s smallest men. Western audiences have never warmed to the 125lb division, despite the high pace that these light fighters can put on, and their generally excellent standard of technique.
Love him or hate him, reigning champion Henry Cejudo has raised the division’s profile. Benavidez looks set to take him on for the flyweight crown when The Messenger – who has an Olympic gold medallist – returns from injury. That’s set to be an exciting clash. If the division survives that long.
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) June 30, 2019
Benavidez had already beaten Formiga in the past. The win came in the second round. Joe B cracked his Brazilian opponent in the head with a kick that left him stricken. Then Benavidez’s offence went into overdrive as he swarmed Formiga with an onslaught of punches that he couldn’t defend against.
It was a very impressive display from the 34-year-old. Almost as impressive as dating Megan Olivi. All is going well for the American fighter right now.
Joseph Benavidez coming in like a man possessed! 😱
— Watch UFC 239 live on BT Sport Box Office (@btsportufc) June 30, 2019
One of the main things to note from this fight is that Benavidez was very direct about wanting a title shot. You can’t blame him. If you don’t make your voice heard in MMA, the game will go past you, and that’s especially true in the lonely wilds of the flyweight division. He called out Cejudo making it clear that this has to happen:
“He’s calling out a lot of guys that don’t make sense,” Benavidez said. “He knows I’m the hardest fight out there. … That’s the fight to make.”
After beating Marlon Moraes for the 135lb belt, Cejudo had called out both Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt. Cruz hasn’t fought since forever, and Garbrandt is on a three-fight skid. While they’re both high-profile, neither of them deserves a title shot just yet.
— MMA Submission (@MMAsubPodcast) June 30, 2019
In a touch of class, the top bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling has said that he totally accepts if the UFC chooses to book Cejudo v Benavidez before his anticipated fight with the two-weight champion. He recognizes that Benavidez is one of the sport’s good guys and he clearly deserves a shot at the belt. Sterling tweeted the following two messages:
“If I lost the first crack at @HenryCejudo to @JoeJitsu, I wouldn’t be mad at all. Joey B is legend of the game and with that performance, it’s tough to argue who should get the first chance to dethrone the King. Congrats Benavidez!”
“Of course, I would be. We both had great performances but looking st all the drama and stats, I know be has a good case so I wouldn’t be mad about it.”