It's hard to deny that Joseph Benavidez is the second best in the UFC's flyweight division. Unfortunately for him, it's also hard to make an argument that he should get another crack at being its number one for some time.
The Team Alpha Male stalwart has only lost four times in his MMA career, but all four losses have come to two now UFC champions - Flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and bantamweight title holder Dominick Cruz. After losing to Cruz and Johnson both, Benavidez nonetheless worked his way back up to a title shot rematch with "Mighty Mouse" last week on the UFC on Fox 9 card in his home town of Sacramento.
The twenty nine year-old never got a chance to get his game going, however, after a right hand from Johnson caught him blind and knocked him out cold early in the first round. Now, Benavidez faces a future that could include a long road back to the top.
“I’m just confused about what happened,” he recently told MMA Junkie.
“I didn’t get to perform my best and fight the best guy in the world in front of millions of people. They don’t know how I could have performed. I know I was going to have a great performance. That stuff doesn’t happen every day, and that’s what you dream about [fighting] on Fox. That’s the crappy part. A loss is a loss. Winning the world title would’ve been awesome. Fighting ‘Mighty Mouse’ and just competing in there was fun."
Benavidez knows he'll have work to do to make a case that he should get another title shot and to make matters worse, he says there isn't really much he can go back and change, either.
“The losses happen, but there’s nothing to learn from it. I know to not get hit in the face. There’s nothing to take away from it.”
The one silver lining is that the fighter says that, despite suffering a concussion, he's feeling better already. “I actually feel good,” he said.
“I went and got scanned and everything came out good. I had a concussion. I got some good rest. But this morning, I woke up and felt like the ‘cloud’ was kind of lifted off.”
All that's left now for Benavidez is, well, everything that goes into starting over at square. He says he's up to the task.
“Bounce back, forget it, look forward to the future, and know there’s still good things to come. I’ve accomplished some things, but I’m not satisfied.”