Joseph Benavidez said after his most recent win that he wasn’t going to bark for a title shot. He didn’t, but he’s getting one anyway.
Benavidez (19-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) will challenge flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (18-2-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) in a rematch for the 125-pound belt at the TUF 18 Finale. The news was announced on Wednesday’s edition of “UFC Tonight” on FOX Sports 1.
The TUF 18 Finale takes place Nov. 30 event at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The Johnson-Benavidez fight will headline the card, which also will see the women’s and men’s tournament finals of Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which currently is airing on FOX Sports 1. The card also features a rubber match between Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz
Benavidez and Johnson met once before, a year ago this coming weekend, for the UFC’s inaugural flyweight title. In that fight at UFC 152, Johnson wrapped up the UFC’s four-man flyweight tournament with a split-decision win in Toronto. Johnson is ranked No. 1 and Benavidez No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA flyweight rankings.
Champion “Mighty Mouse” Johnson has defended his title twice since beating Benavidez. At UFC on FOX 6 in January, he took a unanimous decision from John Dodson in a “Fight of the Night” performance. And at UFC on FOX 8 in July, he submitted John Moraga in the fifth round to win “Submission of the Night” honors. Before beating Benavidez, he fought to a controversial majority draw with Ian McCall in the opening round of the flyweight tourney, then beat him by a unanimous nod in the rematch in June 2012.
Benavidez has won three straight since his loss to Johnson. He beat McCall by unanimous decision at UFC 156 in February. Then in April, he stopped Darren Uyenoyama with a body kick and punches on the ground at UFC on FOX 7. Earlier this month ago, he stopped Jussier Formiga in the first round at UFC Fight Night 28 in Formiga’s home country of Brazil.
With the booking, the TUF 18 Finale card now includes:
- Champ Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez – for flyweight title
- TBA vs. TBA – “TUF 18? men’s tournament final
- TBA vs. TBA – “TUF 18? women’s tournament final
- Nate Diaz vs. Gray Maynard
For more on The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Joseph Benavidez)