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Nam (20-11-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) was hoping to draw multiple-time title challenger Joseph Benavidez instead, but his fight with Schnell (14-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) wound up getting rebooked for UFC Fight Night on Jan. 20.
The hard-hitting Hawaiian explains that his callout of Benavidez (28-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) was about more than just facing one of the division’s most notable names.
“I personally called out Joseph Benavidez,” Nam told MMA Junkie Radio. “I thought that would be a meaningful fight for myself that he actually fought two of my friends that he beat, but I guess the UFC really liked this matchup between Matt Schnell and I and decided to give him another go at it.”
He continued, “I carry a lot of personal pride with my friends, my family. I just always liked the thought of punching Joseph Benavidez in the face. He’s the nicest guy, and he’s really good and myself as a competitor, I love competition and that would be competition at his finest. Especially to test myself because I believe that’s where I should stand and should be at the top of the flyweight division.”
After dropping his first two UFC bouts by unanimous decision, Nam rebounded emphatically with two straight knockouts of Zarrukh Adashev and Jerome Rivera. He plans on scoring another finish over Schnell then calling out Benavidez.
But with Benavidez currently slated to face Askar Askarov on March 6 at UFC 259, Nam understands that he likely may have to move on from the matchup.
“I knock out Matt Schnell, three in a row, I want Joseph Benavidez,” Nam said. “I want to make that four in a row. I’m still very adamant about that callout, but I know he does have a date with Askarov, so I might have to choose another dance partner if Jan. 20 works out in my favor.”