From Weekends On The Fan
DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – Joseph Benavidez has been waiting for this Saturday to come for a very long time.
This weekend, Benavidez will compete in UFC 152’s co-main event to take on Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, with the winner being crowned as the inaugural 125 pound champion.
Many fighters wait their whole careers for a title shot, but what makes this a unique situation for Joe is that for his entire career up to this point, a 125 pound division to complement his natural weight didn’t even exist.
Benavidez turned pro in 2006, and even when he joined The WEC in 2008 (a promotion that at the time featured fighters as light as 135 pounds and was eventually absorbed by The UFC) he was still relegated to a career of fighting opponents naturally bigger and stronger than himself. He won his first two fights in The UFC in that same bantamweight division, and then came the announcement that he had been hoping to hear: The UFC would be creating a 125 pound “flyweight” division, and he would be one of four fighters chosen to compete in a mini tournament to crown the newly minted division’s first king.
Benavidez made quick work of his first round opponent this past March, defeating Yasuhiro Urushitani via TKO, just eleven seconds into the second round. He had wasted no time in punching his ticket to the tournament finals, but what took considerably longer was determining who his opponent would be.
Demetrious Johnson matched up against Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall on that same March card, and a mathematical error on the scorecards resulted in a majority draw, causing the fight to be rematched three months later. In the second fight Johnson won a unanimous decision, clearing the way for him to challenge Benavidez for the flyweight title.
The fight was originally scheduled to be the main event at UFC 152, before the unprecedented cancellation of UFC 151 that delayed Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title defense onto the Toronto card. What will result is the rare instance of two title fights being fought on one card.
Combine that with a middleweight contender’s match between Michael Bisping and Brian Stann, and this card is stacked with compelling match ups.
Hear my conversation below with Joseph Benavidez, discussing his upcoming title challenge, as well as the twenty whole minutes that I trained under him.
Don’t miss 105.3 The Fan’s two hour UFC 152 post fight show Saturday night with Richard and Mike Dingess, immediately following the conclusion of the main event.
Follow Richard on Twitter @RichardHunter
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