Joseph Benavidez’s history with championship gold has been one of close calls and long waits, but he was able to endure with help from his wife, Megan Olivi. Benavidez (28-5) gets his fourth chance at a major world title when he fights Deiveson Figueiredo (17-1) at UFC Fight Night 169, which takes place inside Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Va., this Saturday (Feb. 29, 2020). He spoke with MMA Mania about the role Olivi plays in his professional and personal lives.
“It’s more impressive that she can shine at the forefront and spotlight of the company, but also to me just be the most amazing wife ever. You typically see one or the other,” Benavidez praised. “Her support is everything.... She literally has to deal with people at their lowest and their highest in interviews. Different emotions. Ups-and-downs. She also has to do that at home.
“She is my fourth cornerman here,” he continued. “She not only takes care of me, but all of my cornermen. A lot of the times she is working a full card as well. At the end of the day she is what makes my life good. A lot of times people say, ‘how do you persevere? How do you keep the same faith?’ My longevity is from being positive through ups-and-downs, but it’s only been through her that I’ve really been able to have that positivity.”
The future of Flyweight was touch-and-go for a while, but everything seems to be back on track. When asked what the turning point for the division was, Benavidez suggested that everybody — except Bantamweight champ Henry Cejudo — had a role in buoying the 125-pound weight class.
“That takes everybody else starting to do their part, including myself who at that point is the number one guy. Figuerido who is doing his thing and putting on exciting fights. Formiga...” Benavidez said. “At the end of the day, Cejudo saved it for the time being, but if you never go back to it you leave it where it was. It’s like taking a puppy from the rescue and putting it on the streets.”
Benavidez has made it clear that he has little interest in the champ-champ craze that has ravaged multiple UFC divisions. Long holding the number one contender spot at flyweight, Benavidez shared his thoughts on former featherweight champion Jose Aldo leap-frogging worthy contenders at Bantamweight.
“It’s hard because it is a legend like Jose Aldo. One of the best Featherweights ever fighting at a lower weight class. People can think he won the last fight to at least soften the blow. I mean, he definitely won his last fight but at the end of the day, he didn’t,” Benavidez argued. “That is the hard part. He is fighting for a title in a division that he hasn’t won at. That is the fact of the matter. I feel for everybody in the division... The double champ thing is very tough to execute.”
Other notable fighters competing on the Norfolk card this weekend include Felicia Spencer, Luis Pena, Megan Anderson and Marcin Tybura.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 169 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
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