Joseph Benavidez wants new title shot: 'I'm the best guy in the division'

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- Joseph Benavidez wants his second chance for the UFC gold, and he's proving he deserves the shot.

Benavidez traveled to Brazil to meet Jussier Formiga, the best flyweight in the world back when the UFC didn't have that division, and needed only three minutes to end the fight with a knee to the belly at UFC Fight Night 28. After a devastating performance, Benavidez believes he deserves another shot at the champion Demetrious Johnson.

"I'm always ready," Benavidez told MMAFighting.com following his win. "I'm the best guy in the division. I gave him a great fight, but that's not my decision. I think I've proved I can beat the best guys but I'm just improving every day as a fighter. At the end of the day, it's not my decision. Whatever the UFC decides, I'll be ready for it.

"I always prepare myself to go to war for 15 minutes. I'm fighting the toughest guys in the world so I'm prepared to have a 15-minute battle. I worked too hard to finish fights and the fight played out as I (expected). My power, my speed were on point. I've learned great techniques, I feel I've improved as a fighter. every day so that's just the result. Let it flow."

Benavidez is 3-0 since dropping a decision to Johnson last September, and he believes the loss to the current champion showed him he needed to just relax and have fun inside the Octagon.

"For me, I realized that it's not life or death," he said. "I'm just having fun fighting. I've always had fun fighting, but for some reason at the title fight I treated it like it was life or death. It wasn't even fun for me. I was almost mad, and that's just not me, not the way I perform. Obviously, I've gained a lot of hunger after that loss and it made me a better fighter."

A different mentality made the Team Alpha Male flyweight evolve as a fighter, but having Duane Ludwig as a coach also helped.

"That was my third knockout in the UFC," said Benavidez. "A lot has to do with it that they made the new weight class. At 135, the guys were a little bigger and could take a punch. I've rocked guys at 135, but they wouldn't go down. At 125, the guys are smaller, and I'm a real power puncher in the division. On top of that, I have amazing coaches like Duane Ludwig, and everybody can see the improvement of our team since he got."

Getting the win was important for Benavidez, but the rivalry between Team Alpha Male and Nova Uniao also fueled him coming to this fight after Urijah Faber's losses to Jose Aldo and Renan Barao, and Chad Mendes' knockout defeat to Aldo.

"I was backstage and it wasn't the biggest thing, it was me vs. Formiga, but a lot of people talked about how great the two camps are," he said. "They got three wins over us, so it's always nice to go there and get them. But I like the guys, I like watching the whole team fight. I think their coach, Andre Pederneiras, is great, but it was great to get a win over them."

More from MMA Fighting

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join MMA Fighting

You must be a member of MMA Fighting to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMA Fighting. You should read them.

Join MMA Fighting

You must be a member of MMA Fighting to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMA Fighting. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker