When Joseph Benavidez bought his house in Sacramento, Calif., a couple of years ago, he purchased all the necessary accessories.
He filled rooms with beds, dressers, couches and coffee tables, but if there was one centerpiece to the house that he left virtually empty, it was the mantle in the living room.
There, Benavidez placed only one thing, a Polaroid picture of a UFC championship belt.
It was a constant reminder before every practice, after every hard training session, and every time he walked through his house that his dream had not yet been realized.
The point of the picture is to help Benavidez focus on his ultimate goal of becoming champion. He hopes to take down the Polaroid picture after Saturday night when he faces Demetrious Johnson for the first ever UFC flyweight title at UFC 152.
“I’m just waiting till I get the real one,” Benavidez told MMAWeekly Radio about taking down his “championship” picture.
To say that Benavidez is obsessed with being a champion might be an understatement. He fully admits that when he wakes up in the morning it’s generally the first thing on his mind, and it’s the last thing he thinks about before heading to sleep.
“I can’t even imagine the actual feeling of it happening because just thinking about it, I feel crazy, so I’m always visualizing. It’s more like, when am I not visualizing about it? When am I distracted enough to actually not be thinking about the title?” Benavidez stated.
The title is all Benavidez cares about, so it didn’t rattle him one bit when he went from main event to co-main event after UFC 151 was cancelled and the light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort shifted into the headline spot on the card.
It’s all about the title for Joseph Benavidez, so whether he’s the first fight of the night or the last, getting the gold is all that matters.
“For me, I only look at it as a positive. There’s really no negative that comes out of it. When I started this sport, my dream and my goal was to be the UFC champion, it wasn’t to be a UFC main event. You don’t go write your goals down and go, ‘I want to be the main event,’” said Benavidez.
“You write your goals down and you write, ‘I want to be champion; I want to be the best.’ That’s not going to change, so what do I have to complain about?”
Benavidez sees the change on the card as an opportunity.
Not only an opportunity to win his first UFC title, but also a chance for some fans to learn who he is maybe for the first time. It’s very much like the Ultimate Fighter season 1 finale when all anybody could talk about after the show was the epic battle between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, but in reality the main event that night was Rich Franklin vs. Ken Shamrock.
“I know a lot of guys in the UFC don’t necessarily know Benavidez and Johnson, but they will. It’s all going to be the same in a few years or whenever they do get to see us. It’s almost better, we get to cheat our way in, I guess you could say,” Benavidez commented.
“One card that comes to mind is like (Griffin vs. Bonnar) or (Jose) Aldo vs. Mark Hominick. They may not have been able to sell a card, but afterwards everyone said that was such a great fight, so I’m definitely looking to go in there and still steal the show.”
Click here to listen to Joseph Benavidez’s full interview from MMAWeekly Radio.