One of the best flyweight fighters in the world is finally ready to come back.
Joseph Benavidez, a two-time UFC title challenger at 125 pounds, will make his long-awaited return from a 14-month injury layoff in a top-contender bout against Sergio Pettis on June 9 at UFC 225. The Chicago Tribune first reported the booking on Monday.
Benavidez has not competed since Dec. 2016, when he outpointed Cejudo to win a matchup between the two coaches of The Ultimate Fighter 24. He subsequently suffered a torn ACL that sidelined him for all of 2017.
Despite the time off, though, Benavidez remains the No. 1 ranked contender on the UFC’s official media-generated flyweight rankings. In total, he carries a 12-2 Octagon record, with his only two losses coming via split decision in 2012 then via first-round knockout in 2013 at the hands of UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
Pettis (16-3), meanwhile, looks to rebound after a Dec. 2017 unanimous decision loss to Cejudo snapped a four-fight win streak over the likes of Moraga, Brandon Moreno, Chris Cariaso, and Chris Kelades. The younger brother of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, the 24-year-old Milwaukee native is currently ranked No. 5 at flyweight.
UFC 225 takes place at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. The card does not yet have a main event.