Joseph Benavidez is among the greatest fighters in UFC historical past to have by no means gained a championship.

Benavidez, who fights Deiveson Figueiredo for the vacant males’s flyweight title at UFC Struggle Night time on Saturday on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is 15-Four contained in the Octagon. Three of these losses have include a title on the road. He misplaced to former champion Demetrious Johnson twice, in 2012 and 2013, and most just lately to Figueiredo by way of TKO in February.

The controversy surrounding the loss to Figueiredo helped pave the best way for the rematch. Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 kilos, which meant he could not be topped champion with a win. And the struggle ended on a doubtful be aware, as the 2 knocked heads moments earlier than Figueiredo knocked Benavidez out with a proper hand.

So Saturday at UFC Struggle Night time represents one other alternative for Benavidez to perform one thing he is spent almost his complete life working towards. His journey has included having to struggle 10 occasions — successful 9 — in between his second and third title pictures, and it additionally included recovering from a torn ACL that worn out all of 2017.

The 35-year-old talked to ESPN about how the vitality is completely different this time, and the way the motivation to harm his opponent is extra private.

ESPN has edited Benavidez’s phrases for brevity and readability.

It is actually bizarre, as a result of the psychological facet was so good final time so far as confidence, perception, all that stuff you will have going right into a struggle, that you should have.

I am not an enormous “meant to be” man, however I used to be beginning to be like, “Oh, wow. That is what it looks like” — like, every part feels actually good. However this sport is completely different. It is not like a race, the place you are going to run that point since you’re feeling that. Bizarre issues can occur, they usually positively did. Once I say I wasn’t a “meant to be” man, I’ve virtually been jaded within the sport, the place I do not consider in something. I can really feel pretty much as good as I would like and the man can really feel as unhealthy as he desires, the man is usually a villain, he can miss weight, and he nonetheless has an opportunity.

“What I felt after the final struggle and the best way it went about, not essentially in probably the most honest means, it simply makes me truly need to harm him.”

Joseph Benavidez

It was truthfully actually arduous mentally. I knew concerning the rematch just about instantly. I used to be getting stitched on the desk, and my supervisor was like, “Don’t fret, it isn’t over. Clearly, the ending was horrible, the man missed weight, all that wasn’t honest. The UFC is aware of that. Simply heal up, don’t fret about it proper now.” I knew it was on the horizon, but it surely was powerful. It makes you not consider in something. While you do each single factor you are able to do proper, after which there’s nonetheless some technique to mess it up. It is virtually simpler if you put together the very best you’ll be able to and also you get actually beat by a man. You no less than know that is all I might have completed.

So, that half was actually arduous. You’ve got at all times acquired to know, and I did, that nothing is assured on this sport. However transferring into the struggle, I really feel like I am not as excited as I’d be for a title struggle. And the reason is is all my pleasure went into the final struggle, and I really feel that is virtually an extension of it.

I had the video crew protecting me, it was an ideal “third time’s the attraction” with my third title struggle. I got here again from my ACL. That struggle was excellent. All the pieces was excellent — my camp, my weight minimize. The story a part of it was excellent. That has a specific amount of vitality you employ. And this one, being with quarantine and this rematch being low-key, it is felt nice. All I do is consider the preventing. That one a part of vitality that goes into selling a struggle, it is form of gone for this struggle.

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After their final struggle led to controversy, Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez are very assured of their rematch for the UFC flyweight title on Saturday.

It feels actual pure. Like again within the day when guys did not have Twitter or Instagram or a video crew following them. They simply knew they have been going to coach right here they usually needed to get there and meet the man that day.

It is humorous when individuals ask, “Are you excited to struggle once more?” I am like, “I used to be already excited to struggle. I am doing it once more.” It is like “Groundhog Day,” the place I maintain doing the identical factor till I get it proper and I get to maneuver out of it. Truthfully, the final time was higher. I felt higher final time, bodily, mentally, every part. That does not imply something, however final time was the time for me to win. This time, after I do win, I am going to simply be like, “This could have occurred final time. Why did I’ve to undergo all that heartbreak and arduous stuff, after I might have simply completed this final time?” However I am excited. It is virtually one thing I can not wait to look again on.

I assumed the final one was going to be my final title shot. When the struggle ended and I used to be bleeding, I assumed it was. I assumed I had been TKO’d. And it wasn’t till later, and the mumblings and speaking concerning the head-butt, and I used to be like, “Oh my god, is that what occurred?” And every part began to come back again. It was arduous, as a result of proper earlier than that, I used to be pondering that is by no means going to occur once more. After which abruptly it is “Hey don’t fret, it is taking place once more.”

Persevering is a struggle. That is what a struggle is. You face one thing, you persist via it, you meet it head on. It was actually cool final time, like, “Oh, he persevered via [having to fight 10 times and having knee surgery].” Now it is like, “Oh, he will get one other title shot.” I did not run via 10 guys once more or have ACL surgical procedure this time, however the emotional half was tougher.

You are at all times going to need to beat an individual that beat you, simply to show you are higher. I might lose to the nicest man in Demetrious Johnson, and I nonetheless need to kill him the subsequent time, as a result of I really feel I am higher than him. And he is good. Figueiredo is a freaking villain. The best way he went about issues — he bragged in Portuguese concerning the struggle ending with a head-butt, and his translator did not translate it. Brazilian media contacted me, they usually’re like, “Have you learnt he was speaking about how he was proud that he head-butted you?”

I assume the simplest technique to put it’s that preventing is preventing, it goes typically with hurting individuals. That is a part of the sport. You do not need to, you simply know, “I’ve to harm this man, he is making an attempt to harm me.” What I felt after the final struggle and the best way it went about, not essentially in probably the most honest means, it simply makes me truly need to harm him. Preventing is hurting individuals, but it surely makes me need to harm him. I would like you to harm. I would like you to really feel dizzy if you stand up each day and never know in case your concussions are going to go away. I would like you to freaking cry and be embarrassed and all that form of stuff. So yeah, that may be a completely different feeling in the direction of this struggle. Usually I haven’t got that towards an opponent. I am like, “Hey if I win, I win. If I harm him, clearly that is what we’re educated to do.” However for this one, that is the distinction.



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