Joseph Benavidez could move to 125 when the UFC adopts the
division. | Photo: Dave Mandel
At 5-foot-4, Joseph
Benavidez is used to questions about how he’s going to handle
his opponent’s reach.
It’s not an issue in his eyes. In fact, he believes the advantage
That’s why Benavidez thinks his bout against Eddie
Wineland on Sunday at UFC Live 5 is a “perfect matchup.”
“He does fight really tall,” Benavidez said on the Sherdog Radio
Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I like to use my low center of gravity,
crouch down, get a lot of level changes, and he fights really high.
I think I do great against tall people that kind of stand up
straight like that.”
Benavidez has honed a style based on him being the shorter fighter
with the lesser reach. At 14-2, with his only losses coming against
UFC bantamweight champion Dominick
Cruz, it’s hard to argue with his approach. He doesn’t think
Wineland will have an answer for it either.
“It’s going to be a great fight,” Benavidez said. “Wineland always
goes in there and tries to finish and puts on a high pace. I always
try to finish and I think I put on an even higher pace. I
definitely see it finishing, by me. It’s just going to be a good
fight. He’s a threat in boxing, but I don’t think he’s a complete
MMA fighter, and that’s where he’s going to lose the fight.”
A win would be Benavidez’s third straight and his fifth in six
fights. Because he’s lost twice to Cruz, though, he doesn’t expect
to get another title shot unless the belt changes hands.
“It’s no secret I’m kind of in a difficult position having lost to
the champion twice,” Benavidez said. “It’s kind of hard to get a
rematch, I think. We’ve had two great fights. They’ve both been
close. Even the last one was a split decision, but the fact is
there’s two losses there and a lot of people don’t want to see a
third one even though it’d be a great fight.”
At this point, Benavidez plans to just keep improving. If another
title shot at 135 pounds doesn’t materialize, he could still get
one at 125 when the UFC adopts the division. That doesn’t mean he’s
eager to drop down, though.
“Actually 125, to tell you the truth, doesn’t ever sound good,”
Benavidez said. “It makes me cringe. It’s kind of bittersweet. …
That would be a great option for me, but the fact is it’s tough to
make it. I’m one of those guys that really just enjoys just kind of
laying back and fighting being fun for me. I honestly don’t have to
cut weight. I don’t worry about it until I get to the venue like
five days before.”
He’s willing to make the move, but for now his division is
bantamweight and his only option is to keep winning.
“I don’t know when the 125 class is coming,” Benavidez said, “but I
feel if I can be the best fighter I can be, that’s all I can do.
They can’t deny me if I wipe out the whole division.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:18:40).