Joseph Benavidez will face Jussier Formiga this Saturday night (June 29, 2019) at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota in what is sure-to-be a No. 1 contender’s fight at Flyweight. The only problem is, the victor may not get to fight division champion, Henry Cejudo, straight away.
Because now that he is a champ-champ, deciding which belt to defend first will be a tough task for Cejudo. He already has contenders waiting for him at Bantamweight, but it seems defending his 125-pound strap first is the logical step.
That’s according to Benavidez, who says Henry should be in hurry to get back his last defeat. And despite Cejudo’s history-making run as of late, Joseph says at the end of the day he is still better than him due to his win over him three years ago.
“I beat him and that’s how I’m always looking at him,” Benavidez told MMA Fighting. “I’m better than him, I beat him, I pushed a pace on him and landed clean this clean that. I look at that so it’s motivating to see him do everything he can because that’s what I know of him.”
Still, Joseph won’t complete deny Henry’s improvement since. But that won’t change his view of him.
“Obviously he’s improved and his confidence has skyrocketed, and that’s a huge thing, so I’d be naive to think that he’s not different, that he hasn’t changed. But for me, he’s still the guy that I coached against in The Ultimate Fighter and my team beat his, and I beat him in the finale, and that’s how I look at him right now,” he added.
“He just happens to be doing some others things too, which is great and motivating within itself, but me personally, as a competitor, that’s how I look at him, as somebody I already beat, but knowing and not being naive to his improvements and everything he’s done.
For Benavidez, should he get his second win over Formiga, a title shot should be next without question.
“That should be his next fight, that’s the biggest challenge for him right now, that’s his only loss. He fought at bantamweight and even though there’s contenders, no one has a win over him, no one has history,” he added
“He should come avenge his loss, that’s the fight that makes the most sense in either of the divisions he’s champion. So that’s the plan: Win this fight and fight him when he’s healthy, pretty simple.”
Aside from the fact that Henry has to decide which belt to defend first, “Triple C” is out for the remainder of the year with a shoulder surgery, leaving Benavidez (or Formiga) a tough choice to make when it comes to deciding to stay active or play the waiting game. for the rest of 2019.