Joseph Benavidez is rarely bothered by his opponents before stepping into the Octagon, but that’s not the case for Saturday’s rematch against Deiveson Figueiredo.
Although Benavidez took kindly to Figueiredo before their first fight back in February, his feelings towards the Brazilian changed after the fight. If missing weight for their flyweight title bout wasn’t bad enough, Benavidez was left with a sour taste in his mouth when Figueiredo downplayed a clash of heads which subsequently led to Benavidez losing the fight by TKO.
Talking recently to MMA Fighting, Benavidez said Figueiredo’s demeanour has bothered him heading into their rematch on “Fight Island”.
“Just the fact that he’s kind of like a villain to everybody I think,” Benavidez said. “I don’t like him. That is rare for me. It’s not personal cause I don’t really know him, know him personally and everything. I definitely don’t like him.
“It definitely makes you want to go out there and hurt someone worse because when you fight, you win … you hurt him by proxy winning an MMA fight. You kind of have to. It’s one of those things where I want to put this guy away. I want to shut him up. I just don’t like him and that rarely happens in my career.”
Benavidez can only think of two other opponents that have bothered him during his lengthy career as Figuerido has. Miguel Torres back when Benavidez fought for WEC, and former two-weight champion Henry Cejudo.
“The only people I haven’t liked and felt like I wanted to do that, the same similar way that I could compare was Miguel Torres back in the WEC. Ruined him,” Benavidez explained. “Then Henry Cejudo, beat him, [that] was his last loss. It was a great fight as well.”
UFC Fight Island 2 takes place this Saturday, July 18th, on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Benavidez vs Figueiredo 2 will headline the card.
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