At one point, Joseph Benavidez was the second-best flyweight around. In fact, when we last saw him back in 2016, he was the man who could beat everyone except champ Demetrious Johnson.

But Benavidez was relegated to the “injured list” soon after, and had to have all sorts of procedures done to cobble together some sort of athletic functionality, and, well, you know how well those go in combat sports…

Which is to say, this weekend Benavidez returns to face Sergio Pettis on the Fight Pass prelims of UFC 225, and we’re going to learn if there is any room for the great Almost Champ in this modern world.

These are the facts:

  • Benavidez beat Henry Cejudo, Zach Makovsky, Alie Bagautinov, Ian McCall, John Moraga… the list goes on.
  • He’s only ever lost to Dominick Cruz and “Mighty Mouse”.
  • He’s been fighting since 2006, and all that wear and tear takes a toll – regardless of how much surgery and rehab fixes a person.

Saturday night could be inspiring, or it could be incredibly sad. Either way, we’re going to know where Benavidez fits in.

Here’s a preview vid for your troubles.