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Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez will face the No. 1-ranked Brazilian Jussier Formiga at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolisa. With concurrent flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo out of contention recovering from shoulder surgery, the already tenuous state of the 125-pound division finds itself on even thinner ice.
Benavidez spoke to the media today about his upcoming co-main event bout, a rematch with the champion, and the state of the UFC's 12-man flyweight roster. "At the end of the day, he's the 125-pound champion. You know, he fought at bantamweight last, I think it would make sense to fight at [flyweight] again. I'm the only person, of the contenders that he could fight, I'm the only one with history of him. Not only that, a win over him. So, you figure he'd want to do that, the company would want to do that. No offense to anyone that he called out or anyone, you know, that was a number contender, that made themselves number one contenders that night. I just make the most sense with Henry. You know, we have a history, '[The] Ultimate Fighter.' It was amazing, one of the best fights of the year, and his last loss is me. So yeah, it makes sense to do that next."
The UFC has been slowly chopping away at the men's flyweight roster, leaving a once robust division now only 12-fighters deep. Benavidez is ranked number two, behind only his June 29 opponent Formiga, and the double champion Cejudo.
With Cejudo owning a 2015 split decision win over Formiga, "The Beefcake" believes that his bout with the Brazilian is a title-contender eliminator. "His two best contenders are at flyweight, honestly. A split decision loss, and someone that beat him. So, this is a big fight for the division, and I think the rightful contender comes out of this fight the winner."