There are many fighters in the UFC who were so consumed by the desire of becoming a champion that they often lost track of life outside of the solitary goal of being a champion, and flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez too was immersed in such obsession, but not anymore.
Benavidez got his first crack at the UFC flyweight title in 2012 when he went up against Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson at UFC 152. In what turned out to be a barn burner of a contest which went the distance, Benavidez fell just short via unanimous decision and lost out on the chance to get the much coveted gold wrapped around his waist. He tried again, a year and three straight victories later, but got slept in the first round of the title bout against Johnson.
Ahead of his third shot at the flyweight title against Deiveson Figueiredo in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 169 set to take place in Norfolk, Benavidez looks back and feels that his obsession with winning the belt is what might have cost him dearly. In an interview with MMA Fighting, Benavidez said that there are things in life that are more important than becoming a champion.
“I obsessed over it. It was like this ultimate thing that only added more pressure. To me, the best part about winning the belt is hugging my wife after. That is a moment. You can have things but moments are everything. That’s a moment that is more important than anything. I’ll be motivated to have more of those moments and those feelings and everything that goes along with it. That’s what got me here. Just respecting those moments every single day. It will be a bigger moment. [The belt] is just an object.”
Benavidez said the fact that he will be fighting for the now vacant flyweight title is a bonus and there's no extra pressure on him to get the job done just because the title is on the line. Having said that, Benavidez also said that he would love to win the title and enjoy the perks of being a champion but even if he falls short, it wouldn't hurt him as much as it did the last couple of times.
“There’s no expectation. Because I’ve put so much expectation on every other one, and this is what happens. The worst has already happened. Every single thing has happened so there’s no expectation. I will be 100 percent so grateful winning the title and hopefully it will afford me a lot of different things that come with the title and I’ll be appreciative of that. Of course, I’ll never want to lose it but it is an object. It can’t all be about the belt.”Published 26 Feb 2020, 22:04 IST