Four-time UFC flyweight title challenger Joseph Benavidez is calling it a career after a professional MMA career that spanned nearly two decades, as first reported by MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn.
The 37-year-old Benavidez had been on a three-fight losing streak, falling in back-to-back title fights to Deiveson Figueiredo followed by a lackluster performance against Askar Askarov at UFC 259. He is widely regarded as one of the biggest names in the history of the UFC flyweight division, which nearly ended a few years ago.
Benavidez had reportedly requested that the UFC remove him from the USADA drug-testing pool along with their UFC rankings system earlier today. His wife, UFC correspondent Megan Olivi hinted at his retirement in a recently-posted tweet.
“Retirement adventures are gonna be fun,” Olivi said. “My king forever, [Joseph Benavidez].”
At the time of this story, Benavidez has yet to officially announce his retirement, but that is expected sooner rather than later. Benavidez was likely on the outs with the UFC anyway after a string of tough losses.
Benavidez leaves the fight game as one of the most influential 125-pounders that the UFC has ever had. He’s the most seasoned flyweight with 19 professional fights to go with being tied for the most wins (13) in the history of the division.
Benavidez first signed with the UFC back in 2011, winning his first two promotional bouts after a long run in WEC. After the merge of the two promotions, Benavidez quickly fought for the inaugural UFC flyweight championship, losing to Demetrious Johnson at UFC 152.
A string of wins would land Benavidez right back to the title shot against Johnson in a UFC Fight Night event in 2013, but he lose the rematch by a brutal knockout in the opening minutes.
It’ll be interesting to see what Benavidez does next after fighting. He could potentially return to the sport in an analyst role and work alongside his wife, or focus on training and coaching the next generation. Benavidez walks away from the sport a happy man with plenty of accomplishments to his name.
What are your thoughts on Joseph Benavidez’s retirement? What is his legacy?