The bulk of the MMA community’s focus this weekend may be on the championship clash between Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort at UFC 152, but it’s hard to argue against the notion that the light heavyweights’ tilt is the second-best title-bout on the card in comparison to the flyweight fight between Joseph Benavidez-Demetrious Johnson. While Belfort is making his return to 205 and seen as a massive underdog, the talented 125ers hold a combined record of 31-4-1 with wins over a number of notable opponents in division featuring bigger fighters and are widely considered to be the top two flyweights in the sport.
Benavidez also sees his fight with Johnson as likely to steal the show, in large part due to his own appreciation of what “Mighty Mouse” offers as a competitor.
“If I wasn’t a fighter, and I was just a fan, I would be a fan of DJ. He’s got a great all-action style and I love watching him,” admitted Benavidez before making it clear his personal feelings about Johnson won’t interfere with his approach to beating Johnson. “My coaches have broken his style down and we got a plan to beat him. My eye is on the prize but I am planning a long reign.
“The main goal in my career is to be the UFC champion. I would take that however it comes – but to be the first UFC champion is extra special,” he continued. “Most fighters train when they are fighting, I train to get better all the time. You get better as a fighter when you don’t have a fight but you in the gym – and you’ll see the best version of me yet on Saturday.”
Benavidez has come out with his hand raised in four straight scraps and both of his losses have involved hard-fought decisions against bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. If he comes out victorious on Saturday night he will add Johnson to a list of felled foes already including Eddie Wineland, Jeff Curran, Rani Yahya, and Miguel Torres.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC