by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Joe Benavidez already has enough to concern himself with in
his debut for World Extreme Cagefighting on Dec. 3. After all, he’s going to be taking on a very tough Danny
Martinez. Benavidez trains with
Urijah Faber and is considered to be a talented bantamweight competitor with a
lot of hype behind him due to his famous training partner.
Benevidez is currently 8-0 in his mixed
martial arts career. His last
fight came in July against Junya Kudo in Dream, a late replacement for Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto. He enjoyed fighting for Dream, but when
the WEC came knocking at his door, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“I had another fight on the Dream contract and I planned on
doing that,” explained Benavidez. “Even
a tournament that they talked about.
More and more opportunities came up and I just picked the best one. The WEC was the best choice for me
security wise and everything. I
talked to them and I was able to get out of my contract and into the WEC. I got my fight already for Dec. 3.”
Fighting in the WEC gives Benavidez plenty of competition,
especially now that the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions have been
trimmed. With one of the best
pound-for-pound fighters, Miguel Torres, as the king of the division and tough
competitors like Manny Tapia, Brian Bowles and Danny Martinez,
Benavidez sure has his work cut out for him. That is part of the reason he
joined the WEC. “That’s why I did
this because I want to be the best.
The best are in the WEC, so that played in.”
The hype that has been following Benavidez because of his
training with former featherweight champion Urijah Faber has to put a little
bit of pressure on him, but he also feels like it’s a good thing.
“There’s good and bad for me on both of them,” said
Benavidez. “With people seeing me
and having expectations, for lack of a better word like hype. That’s good
because you have leverage on contract stuff. They think you are a good fighter and want to put you in
against the best and showcase you.
"Also, me personally, I like to go in with no
expectations. If no one expects
anything out there, then people will go ‘who’s that guy?’ Now, there’s a lot of people expecting a lot of stuff from me,
which is good. I like people to
expect nothing, then maybe surprise them.”
There are two very interesting bantamweight fights on the
card besides Benavidez’s and he is paying close attention. Miguel Torres, MMAWeekly’s
No. 1 ranked bantamweight in the world, will be taking on No. 7 ranked
bantamweight Manny Tapia. Also,
Brian Bowles (No. 3 ranked bantamweight) and Will Ribeiro (No. 8 ranked
bantamweight) will also be mixing it up in the cage. Even though Benavidez is not looking past Martinez, he is
going eyeing the aforementioned fights.
I’ll be watching those,” he said excitedly. “I like to watch the fights just to watch the fights,
especially when there is a hidden agenda that they might be my next
opponent. I’ll be watching those
for sure. I’m just excited to
watch the card.”
Martinez is no walkover fight though. He is the current Rage in the Cage
bantamweight titleholder and has an impressive 12-2 record. Benavidez is happy with his debut
match-up and thinks it’ll be a fun fight.
“It’s a good style match-up because we’re kind of similar. Our strengths are going to be the
same. We’ll see who’s better. I think I got an edge a little bit on
everything after seeing his fights.
"The thing is, I kind of know Danny a little bit. A few years back, he was roommates with one of my best friends in college. I ended up staying in his house for
like five days with him. Now it
turns out we’re fighting. He was
always a tough kid. He likes to be
on top a lot. I’m never on the
bottom, so we’ll see how it works out.”
A win in his debut fight would propel Benavidez right into
title contention. He realizes that
Martinez may very well be his toughest test to date, and he is not taking him
lightly at all in his training.
“I’m definitely preparing,” Benavidez said. “I think he’s going to be my hardest
opponent. Kid was supposed to be
my hardest opponent, but Danny will be my hardest fight that I actually stand
in there with.”