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Midnight Mania! Joe Benavidez: TJ Dillashaw was ‘never a good friend’

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Welcome to Midnight Mania!

“You consider TJ Dillashaw a friend? He’s a friend of yours, right?”

Joseph Benavidez took a long time to answer the question, his jaw working.

Ehh... I mean... we were really good friends and really close. Things are... a little compromised right now, and, its easy to say you’re a friend and this guys a friend and this guys a friend of mine. But its more like, to act like a friend, you know what I mean? Kinda like actions and words and stuff like that, so, um, I wouldn’t say he acts like the best friend, but, I mean, we have a history, so we go back, and there is friends where you go... you get annoyed or whatever by each other for awhile, so.

I guess he was never a good friend. We were teammates and gone through a ton together, so I guess that brings you close.

He went on to explain how TJ bragging he was being paid a f*ck-ton of money to kill the UFC’s flyweight division, rubbed him the wrong way, as he himself is one of those flyweights. Joe B had no problem with TJ dropping to flyweight to pursue a second belt; rather, the ‘annoyed’ feeling comes from the way TJ seems pleased to take away livelihoods of people who aren’t even in his way.

Dillashaw does have a long history with both Benavidez and fracturing relationships with teammates. His acrimonious split with Team Alpha Male was famously foretold by Conor McGregor, who told Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber that Dillashaw was a ‘snake in the grass’, a man with no loyalty, only out for himself. Training room stories circulated amidst the split that painted TJ as a bully in the gym. After getting snake emojis on every social media post for years, Dillashaw embraced the moniker, styling himself the Viper. He knocked out Team Alpha Male’s champion, an angry Cody Garbrandt, to win back the belt, and then repeated the feat in his last bout.

His pursuit of the best route for himself and his career wasn’t something that seemed to bother TAM’s Benavidez, at least not publicly. Long after the split, Benavidez was still traveling to train with Dillashaw and his striking coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig. As he said, they have a long history.

Now, though, things are different. Cejudo, who once faced Joe in the cage, said Benavidez approached him and shook his hand, telling him he was rooting for him. Cejudo sees himself as fighting for the flyweight division, though Dana White won’t guarantee its future.

A lot could be riding on the UFC’s first card on ESPN and ESPN+ for the UFC’s lowest weight classes. In addition to Dillashaw, Benavidez faces Dustin Ortiz in a rematch of a 2014 bout. If Dillashaw succeeds in his superfight quest, it will put the division in a very weird position not entirely dissimilar to women’s featherweight, where Nunes seems uninterested in the division or a rematch with Cris Cyborg. Dillashaw’s priority won’t be defending his flyweight belt; he has targeted a featherweight superfight with Max Holloway, and has contenders piling up at bantamweight as well.

Ultimately, the unilateral decision-making power rests with UFC president Dana White. Will he, too, ultimately decide the UFC’s flyweight division was never his friend?


Insomnia

Cejudo’s smashing of the snake was more than a little corny, but at least he and TJ wore ridiculous outfits to make up for it.

Accurate

Alex Hernandez really nailed this look, which seems to go with his personality.

I won’t lie and say Jon Jones’ response to Kevin Lee didn’t make me chuckle.

Amanda Nunes and Megan Anderson got really heated over whether 145 is a real division, and if it isn’t, is Nunes a real champion? The answer, of course, is that no, it isn’t a real division, but Cyborg was a real champion. The world is weird like that. I also refuse to believe Nunes is tweeting out this stuff herself.

TJ Dillashaw hitting pads.

Is Sage Northcutt’s Jeep really at an insane angle, or is the picture tilted?

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Trying to conquer the biggest hill lol ❄️

A post shared by Super Sage Northcutt (@supersagenorthcutt) on

Featherweight prospect Mirsad Bektic training with Georges St. Pierre, who will probably stay in this kind of shape into his fifties.

These people should be too ashamed to ever record or post these videos.

Kayla Harrison vs. Cris Cyborg next? I would watch it in a heartbeat.

Brawling with eight limbs

Speaking of Muay Thai, the legend John Wayne Parr had a boxing career too

There have been a lot of fights announced in the past week, and in terms of quiet quality, Leon Edwards vs. Gunnar Nelson is right up there with the best of them.

Mike Tyson is embracing the memes but not willingly

There is something oddly compelling about watching two men with a lot of extra mass throw bombs at each other.


Random Land

This lizard is kinda creepy but also very cute

Sandstorm

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality