Joseph Benavidez believes UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo was never planning on returning to the flyweight division.
Cejudo was recently stripped of his flyweight title with Benavidez now getting the opportunity to challenge for the vacant strap when he faces Deiveson Figeuredo at UFC Norfolk which takes place February 29.
Benavidez was previously hoping to face Cejudo for the title and notably held a win over him as well. But deep down, he figured “Triple C” had no intention of making 125 pounds again:
“I don’t think he ever did,” Benavidez told MMA Fighting. “I think we could have got him down for a crazy amount of money but that’s not the fight to make for a ton of money and you have to earn that, too, from his perspective.
“So I don’t really think he ever did [intend on coming back to flyweight]. For one, he would never say it publicly but also anyone that I knew personally that talked to him said ‘honestly, he’s not interested in going down again.’ I honestly never think he wanted to do it.”
Regardless, Benavidez is pleased with the opportunity in hand. After all, it will be his first crack at the flyweight title in six years:
“It’s awesome when you work hard for something and I feel you never really deserve anything, especially in this sport but then then the way it came about it was really like the right thing happened,” Benavidez added. “It was hard at first to accept like really?
“Cause I didn’t know what to expect with everything that’s happening with “Triple C” and this and that. I was willing to wait for him but it all came together really quick. I’m super happy about it. I’ve been waiting forever.”
What do you think of Benavidez finally getting his title shot?