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Joseph Benavidez (27-5) is a flyweight signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. For his next outing, he will be pitted in a rematch opposite Jussier Formiga at UFC on ESPN 3. That event takes place at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 29.
In the build up to the clash, here are five things that you might not know about Benavidez.
He is married to a UFC reporterIt was in 2009 in Las Vegas that Benavidez was first introduced to TV personality and Fox Sports reporter Megan Olivi. The pair were initially just friends, but later, their relationship blossomed into romance. In 2014, they eventually got married.
Olivi has since admitted that being the partner of a pugilist is nerve-racking when it comes to fight time. She once said, “My heart just beats like crazy no matter what.”
He won his first ten boutsBenavidez was working as a screen printer when he made his professional bow in June 2006 with Universal Fight Promotions in New Mexico. The fledgling combatant used his wrestling skills to dominate Brandon Shelton from the outset. In the second frame, Benavidez emerged victorious via kimura.
He would go on to win his next nine fights before finally tasting defeat against Dominick Cruz in August 2009 at a World Extreme Cagefighting event.
He has been critical of super fightsBenavidez has been concerned by the downsized UFC flyweight division as well as recent rumours it could be disbanded altogether. The 5’4’’ athlete has voiced his opinion that super fights are a bad idea and particularly detrimental to his weight class’ prestige.
“It sounds fun, but nothing good ever came out of it,” said Benavidez in one interview. He went on to state that two-division champions never defend their belts and as a result, damage their old weight class. The outspoken combatant was vehemently opposed to flyweight champion Henry Cejudo moving up to bantamweight, in what later transpired to be a successful attempt at becoming a two-division champion.
He is well-roundedBenavidez has built a reputation as a well-rounded fighter who is equally adept wherever the action goes. His versatility is apparent when one analyzes his career wins. In total, 11 (41 percent) of his 27 victories have come via decision, with a further nine (33 percent) by submission and seven (26 percent) by way of KO/TKO.
His deep skillset has its origins in his formative years. As a youngster, the then New Mexico resident practiced boxing and kickboxing. At the age of 16, he expanded his combat training with the addition of wrestling.
He is a hometown heroBenavidez was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1984. However, he spent much of his upbringing in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was there that the future title challenger first garnered a reputation for his combat skills. Benavidez notably won a state championship in wrestling while studying at Las Cruces High School.
He left the city at the age of 22 to further his mixed martial arts development in Sacramento, California. However, he remains a revered figure in his hometown. Evidence of this is the fact that in 2010, Las Cruces’ mayor announced that April 27 would be known as Joseph Benavidez Day in the city.