Placement on the upcoming UFC 225 pay-per-view (PPV) event — which is stacked with two title fights and one intriguing fight after another — has been a hot topic over the last couple of weeks.
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight title contender Alistair Overeem wasn’t too upset after he was bumped down to the prelims, which will air on FOX Sports 1. Still, UFC president Dana White felt the need to go on and say “Reem” was demoted due to the fact he can’t sell PPV’s like former WWE Superstar and mixed martial arts (MMA) novice, CM Punk.
One person who is highly-upset with his spot on the card lineup is former two-time Flyweight title contender Joseph Benavidez, who will face Sergio Pettis on the UFC Fight Pass prelims. To hear Joseph tell it, the No. 1 ranked 125-pound fighter in the world has no business getting buried so far down.
“No other person, in any division, with a No. 1 ranking and six wins in a row, would be buried on Fight Pass,” Benavidez told ESPN. “What other theory is there to have besides they are snubbing [the flyweight division] or it’s something personal towards me?” he asked.
Benavidez hasn’t competed since December of 2016 due to lingering injuries. Nevertheless, he is riding a six fight win streak including a big win over Henry Cejudo. While Joseph wasn’t holding his breath on getting a title shot after a long layoff, getting placed on Fight Pass was hardly the welcome he expected.
”You want to be respected by your bosses and peers. I’ve gone through a lot to get here. I’m doing my job. And that No. 1 ranking next to my name says I’m doing my job better than a good percentage of everyone else. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Expecting to see a mix up in the division upon his return, Benavidez admits he was a bit disappointed to see the division remain stagnant in large part due to Demetrious Johnson’s continued dominance and injuries of his own.
Still a third title fight against “Mighty Mouse” is in his sights and says regardless how many times he and Johnson face each other, their bouts will be more exciting than having Demetrious fight someone just for the sake of filling up an event.
”I’ve always thought that as far as skill goes, it’s no question. If you want to have the two best people fight, we’re gonna have amazing fights. I think a sixth fight [with Johnson] would be more marketable than some of the fights he’s had to fill a card and defend his title.”
Before then, Joseph has to take care of Pettis, who is eager to leapfrog the other contenders in the championship race with a big win in “Chi-Town.”
To see the entire UFC 225 fight order that ultimately forced Benavidez to the Fight Pass prelims click here.