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Joseph Benavidez wants to hurt ‘villain’ Deiveson Figueiredo for bragging about head-butt in first fight

Joseph Benavidez is one of the most calm, cool and collected individuals in mixed martial arts (MMA), a sport where — for better or worse — chaotic and wild personalities get most of the headlines and spotlight.

Inside the cage, though, he lets out his violent streak to achieve the ultimate goal, and he also knows how to take his lumps like a man. That was the case in his first fight against Deiveson Figueiredo earlier this year, where he was knocked out by “Daico” in the second round.

Initially, Benavidez took the loss as just that, another tough defeat where he unfortunately failed to win the UFC title. But things took a turn days later when he stumbled upon some insight that Figueiredo was actually bragging to the Brazilian media about head-butting him, which played a big part in his knockout win that occurred moments later (see it again here).

And now that he has his chance at revenge, it’s personal for Benavidez, who recently told ESPN that this time around his goal is to hurt Figueiredo for his unwarranted bragging after the fight.

“You’re always going to want to beat a person that beat you, just to prove you’re better,” he said. “I could lose to the nicest guy in Demetrious Johnson, and I still want to kill him the next time, because I feel I’m better than him.

“And he’s nice. Figueiredo is a freaking villain,” Benavidez continued. “The way he went about things — he bragged in Portuguese about the fight finishing with a head-butt, and his translator didn’t translate it. Brazilian media contacted me, and they’re like, ‘Do you know he was talking about how he was proud that he head-butted you?’”

After initially thinking it was going to be his last chance at winning a UFC title, Benavidez got the news that a rematch would be likely awarded because of all the drama surrounding first fight, which not only included the clash of heads, but Figueiredo missing weight.

Five months removed from their first encounter, Benavidez feels better than ever and motivated to get one more shot at fulfilling his championship dreams. Along the way, he wants Figueiredo to feel just the way he felt (and more) last February.

“I guess the easiest way to put it is that fighting is fighting, it goes sometimes with hurting people. That’s part of the game. You don’t want to, you just know, ‘I have to hurt this guy, he’s trying to hurt me.’ What I felt after the last fight and the way it went about, not necessarily in the most fair way, it just makes me actually want to hurt him,” he said.

And though hurting people just for the sake of seeing them in pain is never Joseph’s main objective, it’s different this time around.

“Fighting is hurting people, but it makes me want to hurt him ... I want you to hurt,” he said. “I want you to feel dizzy when you get up every day and not know if your concussions are going to go away. I want you to freaking cry and be embarrassed and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, that is a different feeling towards this fight. Typically I don’t have that toward an opponent. I’m like, ‘Hey if I win, I win. If I hurt him, obviously that’s what we’re trained to do.’ But for this one, that’s the difference.”

Of course, all eyes will be on Figueiredo tomorrow when he tips the scales. Should he fail to hit his mark again, you can bet it will only further add fuel to Benavidez’s fire.