Joseph Benavidez was glad to see a clear winner emerge from the Demetrious Johnson-Ian McCall flyweight tournament rematch at UFC on FX 3.
It was Johnson who prevailed, and now Benavidez is ready to fight him in the tournament final and take a shot at making history as the first UFC flyweight champion.
“I wanted to definitely fight the guy who everyone else thought was the best,” Benavidez told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “It’s going to be huge. It’s like history. I’m going to be like the George Washington of flyweight champions. When you look at that list and go to the No. 1 guy, I’m going to be the first one ever.”
First, though, he has to beat Johnson -- an opponent he clearly respects.
“I was in the WEC before him, so I heard about him when he had came in,” Benavidez said. “When he came in, I was impressed by his first fight -- I think it was with Brad Pickett -- even though he lost. I’d never seen anyone that fast and that fluid.”
Johnson has won five bouts since that loss to Pickett, and the only other fight he’s dropped in his career was via decision to UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. More than anything, Johnson’s speed and movement have overwhelmed opponents. But Benavidez has plans to counter Johnson’s strongest assets.
“Honestly, I think I do everything that he does better besides being as fast,” Benavidez said. “He definitely has the speed advantage, but I definitely think that I can negate that with power, which I think I have more of, and also just timing. It’s not like his speed is way faster than mine. He’s not going to make me look slow or anything. He’s going to be a little faster. He has great footwork, but I think I’m better at everything. I think I’m stronger. I’m more powerful and more dangerous in there.”
Benavidez also believes that he mixes up his game better than Johnson. He sees Johnson as fast but conventional.
“He’s going to have never seen what I’m throwing at him,” Benavidez said. “Demetrious is very orthodox and he does stuff kind of one-two-three-kick, kind of the way it’s supposed to be done. It is a little faster, but he does it the way it’s supposed to be done. He’s just a little faster. I’m going to be kind of used to that, and honestly, I have a great time in practice or fights with anyone who is just really fundamental and does kind of what you predict him to do. I think that’s another place where I’m going to hold an advantage.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:22:35).