Imagine owning a perfect MMA record through your first 10 pro fights. Now picture yourself entering the biggest scrap of your career and laying an egg. Thankfully, the rematch Joseph Benavidez has been dreaming about finally arrives tonight when he rematches bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz for his strap at WEC 50.
“I think I had an off-night when I lost to Dominick Cruz,” Benavidez told 5thRound.com. “It was a really close fight. We only got to go 3Rounds [last year], now we get to go 5Rounds. Since that loss I’ve shown that I’m a different fighter. I’ve gone out there and I’ve finished two guys who were the Top 5 fighters in the world, decisively.
“I’m a different fighter and I’d love to go out there and avenge my loss and get the title at the same time.”
Cruz took a convincing unanimous decision over Benavidez at WEC 42 last August to earn himself a shot at the gold. It is the only blemish on Benavidez’s nearly immaculate 12-1 resume and it clearly still irks him. Particularly since Cruz went on to hand then-champ Brian Bowles a 2ndRound TKO loss to capture the 135-pound title in his next outing.
That same WEC 47 evening, Benavidez looked sensational from beginning to end in his trouncing of former bantamweight king Miguel Torres. It took the Alpha Male trained fighter less than 2Rounds to dispose of MMA’s baddest mullet, cementing his opportunity for a shot at redemption.
So JoeB135, what’s gonna happen tonight inside the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada that didn’t happen exactly 12 months ago?
“Well for one, I’d win,” Benavidez matter-of-factly told 5thRound.com. “Dominick Cruz is a great opponent, he has an amazing style. I think it’ll be a great fight, it’ll be one of the best fights. We’ll get to go 5Rounds with our pace. I think it will be one of the best fights that you could ask for.
“I just know I can go out there and beat him.”
If that’s the case, Benavidez is a lot smarter than the Gambling Gods because they profess he’s a 2-to-1 underdog for his mulligan with Cruz.