When the UFC announced that they’d finally be implementing the flyweight (125lbs.) division in their promotion, there were several undersized bantamweights that seemed like they’d be a great fit for the division — Joseph Benavidez was among them.
The Team Alpha Male fighter was considered to be one of the bantamweight division’s top contenders, but gave up height and size to most every 135er he faced. So, Benavidez was a natural to include in the UFC’s inaugural flyweight tournament, which goes down this Friday night.
“It wasn’t even a question,” Benavidez said of dropping to flyweight. “As a lot of people know, I was in a weird situation at bantamweight anyways, kind of like a purgatory, limbo I was in. I definitely thought I was going to keep smashing on people, but I wasn’t getting the fights I wanted and I wasn’t getting to expose myself and gain anything from the merger cause I was fighting on the undercards. This flyweight division is just giving me a great opportunity. I always knew all along I could make flyweight.”
Benavidez will take on Yasuhiro Urushitani on his side of the bracket and will meet the winner of Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall from the other side for the belt. Benavidez has high hopes for his new division, seeing it as his proper home, which he intends to rule with a gold strap around his waist.
“I think the flyweight division is going to be a great success,” he said. “They’re getting some tough guys down there. I’m looking forward to being the champion and representing that weight class, and being a great champion and proving I’m one of the best fighters in the world at any weight class.”
Benavidez meets Urushitani at UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann this Friday night from the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia.