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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Joseph Benavidez after loss at UFC Norfolk?

Another weekend of combat sports action has come and gone as UFC Fight Night 169 blew the roof off Chartway Arena last Sat. night (Feb. 29, 2020) in Norfolk, Virginia.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Zara Fairn, who was dominated and ultimately stopped by Felicia Spencer in the co-main event of the evening (highlights). And Ion Cutelaba, whose attempt to play possum backfired — or worked too well — after the referee on duty put an end to his fight against Magomed Ankalaev, believing he was actually hurt.

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Joseph Benavidez.

Coming into his headlining bout against Deiveson Figueiredo, “Joe B-Wan Kenobi” was in search of fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming UFC champion after failing on his two previous bids, both against Demetrious Johnson. Standing in his way was a formidable foe in Figueiredo, who had only lost one fight coming into the bout, a unanimous decision to Jussier Formiga.

Once the action got started, you could see the determination in Benavidez’s attack, as he was being aggressive and throwing some real heat in search of a knockout. Figueiredo, though, stood firm and fired off some shots of his own. When Benavidez did connect, Figueiredo ate the shots right up, indicating that his opponent wasn’t going to go down easily and would have to land right on the kisser for the finishing blow.

Following a thrilling first round, the action got hot and heavy in the second frame. After a clash of heads, Benavidez was cut wide open and immediately began spilling blood. And the blow obviously hurt him, as he was visibly rocked. Smelling (and seeing) blood, Figueiredo jumped in and landed a straight right down the pipe, flooring Benavidez. A few strikes later, the fight was over and the 125-pound title was vacant yet again (thanks to this).

It’s a tough loss for Benavidez, who had been on a tremendous run, winning nine of his last 10 bouts. And he had everyone outside of Brazil seemingly rooting for him, even the “Notorious” one, Conor McGregor.

Where he goes from here is a bit unclear, as the division is in limbo now more than it was a few days ago. Still, Benavidez is determined to bounce back better than ever.

“We done come a long way like them slim-ass cigarettes From Virginia. This ain’t gon’ stop, so we just gon’ continue.” Benavidez posted on Instagram, a quote from Outkast’s hit “Elevator.”

With UFC being in a tough predicament seeing as how the title is still vacant, I wouldn’t be opposed to the promotion booking an instant rematch between Benavidez and Figueiredo, though it would likely be a tough sell. But when you couple Figueiredo’s scale fail, the inadvertent clash of heads and all the money “Deus Da Guerra” lost, I’m sure he wouldn’t be opposed. It gives Figueiredo another chance to get a full payday and, more important, become champion with another win. Assuming he makes weight, of course.

I’m just spit-balling here, so give us your best-case scenarios for all parties involved in the comments section below.

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