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Dana White open to Figueiredo vs. Benavidez rematch: ‘We’ll do it again’

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Norfolk-Benavidez vs Figueiredo
Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

What should have been a triumphant weekend for Deiveson Figueiredo turned into a memorable one for the wrong reasons as his goal of becoming UFC flyweight champion was stifled by his inability to beat the scale.

Figueiredo did manage to beat Joseph Benavidez in the UFC Norfolk main event, and based on that effort, UFC President Dana White is open to running the matchup back.

“Listen, that was a great fight,” White said, speaking to the media ahead of Saturday’s UFC 248 event in Las Vegas. “A great fight. Absolutely, the head butt had a lot to do with the knockout too, not to take anything away from him, it was a great fight, but I think you have to do that fight again.

“First of all, he didn’t make weight. Joe still fought him, there was a headbutt, so a lot of controversy in that fight. But it was a great fight. Both guys came to fight, I’m sure you guys know how I feel about him not making weight, but we’ll do it again. They both deserve it.”

A longtime contender at both 135 and 125 pounds, Benavidez was competing for a UFC title for the third time after faltering in two previous championship bouts against Demetrious Johnson. This was to be Figueiredo’s first world title fight, but the 32-year-old Brazilian came in at 127.5 pounds at Friday’s weigh-ins—2.5 pounds over the championship limit—and it was ruled that only Benavidez would be eligible to claim the title with a win on Saturday.

Figueiredo came out on top with a second-round TKO of Benavidez, resulting in the title remaining vacant. It was previously held by Henry Cejudo, who relinquished the belt and is currently scheduled to defend his bantamweight title against Jose Aldo at UFC 250 in May.

White said the plan is to speak with matchmaker Mick Maynard this week and their discussion will include what to do with Figueiredo, Benavidez, and the flyweight title. He added that were the two to rematch, the championship would again be on the line.

Asked if the attention from the weigh-in chaos was beneficial in any way as far as generating interest in a card that may have otherwise flown under the radar, White shot that notion down.

“I don’t ever think of any of that stuff,” White said. “These guys have been away from their families for a long time. They cut weight. It’s the day before the fight and there’s a lot of anxiousness and anger and a lot of stuff going through these guys’ minds going into the day before the fight and the staredowns.

“My job is to make sure they don’t touch each other and nothing happens leading up to the fight. Because the last thing we need is these guys getting into it or somebody touching somebody, the commission getting involved with it—like you just saw what happened with [Tyson] Fury and [Deontay] Wilder—that’s my job and that’s what I’m there to do.”

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