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Joseph Benavidez Gets Another Crack at Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson at TUF 18 Finale

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Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz Official for UFC Fight Night Austin
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Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz Official for UFC Fight Night Austin

The UFC’s champions are getting busy.

With nearly every champion in the promotion already lined up for a fight or just coming off of a defense, that left UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson as the only titleholder sitting idly by, waiting for his next defense.

Johnson is no longer waiting, as UFC president Dana White announced via UFC Tonight on Wednesday that Demetrious Johnson would put his belt on the line in a rematch against Joseph Benavidez at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale.

Johnson (18-2-1) is fresh off of his UFC on Fox 8 main event victory over John Moraga in September in July. He hasn’t lost since failing to win the bantamweight championship from Dominick Cruz and moving down to 125 pounds.

Benavidez’s (19-3) last loss was to Johnson when the two met in the finals of the UFC flyweight tournament to crown the promotion’s inaugural champion. Following that loss, Benavidez has gone on to win a unanimous decision over Ian McCall and score TKO stoppages of Darren Uyenoyama and Jussier Formiga.

The victory over Formiga came at the recent UFC on Fight Night 28: Teixeira vs. Bader on Sept. 4 in Brazil. The win over Formiga launched Benavidez back into the top challenger’s position in the division, a spot he feels he never lost.

“I’ve believed that I was the No. 1 contender really since I lost,” Benavidez said following his victory over Formiga. “I was the next best guy in the division to Demetrious (Johnson).

“He’s been a great champion, but I’ve proven I can beat, and not only beat, but finish the top guys in the division.”

Now Benavidez will get the opportunity to once again step in with Johnson to battle for the flyweight championship.

The two will meet in the TUF 18 Finale main event on Nov. 30 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

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