By Richard Hunter, UFC Blogger for 105.3 The Fan | CBSDFW.COM

DALLAS, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – If it weren’t for those two losses to the only flyweight champion that the UFC has ever recognized, Joe Benavidez would be perfect.

The Team Alpha Male 125-pound contender is still ranked #2 in the division, but Saturday night at UFC 172, he will begin his road back to title contention when he faces Tim Elliott on the undercard of an event that will be headlined by UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones defending his title against Glover Teixeira.

Benavidez twice lost to champion Demetrious Johnson.  The first was by split decision for the UFC’s inaugural flyweight title fight that crowned it’s’ first champion, and the second was by first round knock out this past December.  Benavidez will admit that it was the latter that stung the most, getting stopped in front of his home town crowd in Sacramento on national television.  Still, he recognizes that he is a shorter distance away from a third shot at Johnson’s title than other contenders would be in deeper divisions.

Listen to Richard Hunter talk to Joe Benavidez about his game plan for the unpredictable style of Tim Elliott.

Between losses to Johnson, Benavidez went on a three fight winning streak, and his opponent Saturday was riding a wave of momentum himself before suffering a loss to Ali Bagautinov this past November.  His unorthodox and unpredictable style should make this match up worthy of it’s “preliminary headliner” status, airing as the last free fight on FOX Sports 1 (7:00 pm Dallas time) before the pay per view portion of the card begins at 9:00 pm central.

Follow Richard Hunter on Twitter @RichardHunter

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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