We knew based on his run in the WEC that Joe Benavidez was one of the best of the “little guys” – and when the organization got sucked up by the UFC, he remained one of the best.
Sure, his Kryptonite was Dominck Cruz and Demetrious Johnson, but other than those two champs, it was all Benavidez, all day. Stack him against anyone else and the dude was winning by sudden and violent ending or punishing decision.
A ton of injuries have kept him on the sidelines, with his last trip to the Octagon coming in 2016 against Olympian Henry Cejudo. But he’s slated to return at UFC 225, taking on Sergio Pettis on the Fight Pass prelims. You could argue that it’s a bit of an indignity for such a highly-regarded fighter to be relegated to the Fight Pass prelims, but come on, this is a massive card that even has Alistair Overeem on the prelims.
Anyway, here’s Benavidez, plus Claudia Gadelha and Dan Ige doing some media.