Influential Flyweight Contender Joseph Benavidez Retires From MMA
After 15 years, Joseph Benavidez said he’s stepping away from the sport.
Benavidez (28-8 MMA, 15-6 UFC) announced Wednesday that he’s retiring from the UFC and sport overall because he doesn’t want it to feel like a job nor lose the fun he gets out of it.
“I kind of knew I wasn’t gonna fight, but I was just kind of letting it linger,” Benavidez told ESPN. “You never know. But it’s just come to that point.”
Benavidez, 37, has been dubbed an influential figure in the lighter-weight division in MMA history.
UFC President Dana White had nothing but good words about the fighter when he heard the news.
“Since joining WEC in 2008 and then UFC in 2011, he’s used his unstoppable pace and nasty guillotine to remain at the top of two divisions for 13 years,” White said. “His epic battles with Cruz, [Demetrious] Johnson and [Henry] Cejudo will never be forgotten. He was a constant professional and carried himself in a way that demanded respect from his peers.”
He credited Benavidez to be a “pillar of the lighter-weight divisions for years.”
The fighter has been on a three-fight losing streak. News surfaced that he was no longer of the UFC roster and that’s when he admitted his plans.
Despite never grabbing the UFC gold, he’s shared the octagon with names like Miguel Torres, Dominick Cruz and Henry Cejudo, to name a few.
No. 1 ranked flyweight Deiveson Figueiredo — who he lost to in two title fights — paid homage to his fellow division competitor.
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Benavidez was the No. 5 ranked UFC flyweight.
“I never felt like it was a job to me. I didn’t want it to become like that, either,” Benavidez said. “I always just fought to be the best. After my last title fight, I felt I’ll probably never go for a title again. Then it’s like, what am I really doing it for?”