Bidding Benavidez Farewell
After a long and storied fifteen-year career perennial contender and four-time UFC flyweight title challenger, Joseph Benavidez (28-8) confirmed Wednesday to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi that he was hanging up his gloves and calling it a career in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. “I kind of knew I wasn’t gonna fight, but I was just kind of letting it linger, you never know. But it’s just come to that point,” said Benavidez. He also later posted this heartfelt message to his Instagram,
“The news is out – I’ve decided to retire from competing in the sport of MMA. This journey has been more wild than I ever imagined, full of memories I will always cherish with people I will always love. 15 years – From the early days of fighting at DREAM in Japan to all the battles at 135 in the WEC to starting up the flyweight division in the UFC. I’m so grateful for all the ups and downs, it’s truly been an honor to compete for so long. Thank you to every single coach, training partner that ever helped me, my amazing peers that have inspired me, some I’m lucky to now call friends, and to all the teammates I’ve sat in the trenches with that I’m lucky to now call brothers. Thank you to the UFC organization for giving me a place to call home all these years and every UFC employee for taking care of me like family. Thank you to every media member that has ever covered me. Thank you so much to all the fans, that make this possible and for all your never-ending support.”Joseph Benavidez via Instagram
History Of Violence
The 37-year-old Benavidez was currently on a three-fight skid, with his most recent being a unanimous decision loss back in March to Askar Askarov at UFC 259. Prior to that, he lost 2 title fights in a row to former flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo. Joe Jitsu’s last victory was back in 2019 over Jussier Formiga.
Benavidez first made his pro-MMA debut back in 2006 on the regional scene, going (4-0) before signing with now-defunct Palace Fighting Championship in January 2008, then Japanese promotion DREAM in July of that same year. However, by the end of 2008, the now (8-0) Benavidez would sign with the WEC where he would go (5-2) with the promotion. After the WEC was absorbed into the UFC in 2011, Benavidez helped to kickstart the UFC’s fledgling flyweight division and then proceeded to spend the next decade as a top-ranked contender and fight for the flyweight title on four separate occasions but was never quite able to make it over the hump.
Despite never winning a title, Joseph Benavidez is still widely considered to be one of the greatest flyweights of all time. With classic fights against Demetrious Johnson, Dominick Cruz, and Henry Cejudo among others, it’s only a matter of time before we see him inducted into the UFC Hall Of Fame.
What do you think? have we seen the last of Joe Jitsu?
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images