Joseph Benavidez hasn’t had much of a chance to showcase his ground skills of late.
That could change April 20 at UFC on Fox 7, though, when he meets Darren Uyenoyama in a flyweight matchup. Ahead of the bout, Benavidez joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Cheap Seats” show to discuss his opponent and much more.
On Uyenoyama: “He’s a great fighter. I’ve got nothing but respect for him. He’s probably one of the best grapplers if not the best in the flyweight division. He represents a challenge for anyone in that aspect.”
On neglecting the ground game lately: “My last fight against Ian McCall was kind of all standup, and to tell you the truth, I haven’t been able to show my ground skills that much in my recent fights. I knocked out [Yasuhiro] Urushitani and I wasn’t able to really get my wrestling game going against Demetrious [Johnson]. He took me down and scored points, and then McCall, I don’t think there was any wrestling in that at all. I’d love to show my grappling skills again and show that I’m one of the more dangerous grapplers in the division. It’s a great guy to do it against.”
On whether Uyenoyama can take him down: “I can avoid his takedowns. I haven’t seen him with great, explosive takedowns. He does get on top, but if my takedown defense is on, I don’t see him getting to be on top of me. And also, I’m pretty hard to hold down.”
On fighting from the top on the ground: “The thing is, he’s going to really have to take me down to get it where he wants, and I definitely don’t want to let that happen. I think he has a strong top game. If anything, I’m looking to get on top of him, where I think I can beat anyone in the world. … I think he’s going to have a hard time taking me down. I’m going to be able to dictate the pace and where the fight goes. If I want to take him down and maybe beat him up or score points, I think I can do it.”
On whether engaging on the ground is the best strategy: “Honestly, it would be smart of me to just not go to the ground at all if that’s where his best area is. That’s what you want to do in fights: You want to stay away from the guy’s best place and beat him at his weaknesses. That’s definitely a good idea.”
On why he might take down Uyenoyama anyway: “There’s really no point of me going to the ground other than just kind of what I said: I’ve missed going to the ground and I want to just be able to grapple again in a fight and show that I’m one of the best grapplers.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 56:47).