by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Opinions have been heavy on who Dominick Cruz should face for his first defense of the WEC bantamweight championship. One person believes it’s a clear-cut choice, and that’s Joseph Benavidez.
On the same night that Cruz defeated Brian Bowles to win the title, Benavidez was doing his part to solidify his place as the top contender when he not only defeated Miguel Torres, but submitted the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt to do it.
WEC officials have said that they haven’t made any decisions yet about who will get Cruz when he’s healthy, but the Team Alpha Male member is ready to plead his case.
“I think it should definitely put me in to get a title shot,” Benavidez said when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio this week. “Mine and Dominick’s fight was amazing, and it was only three rounds, and like I said I think I had an off night, and I’d love to prove that I am the best out there.”
Benavidez has a lot of respect for the skills that Cruz brings to the table, but he also knows that he didn’t have his best night when they fought the first time, and he wants another crack at him with the title belt on the line.
“He’s a great opponent. We went three rounds, but both of us could have gone two more rounds,” said Benavidez. “So that would be an even better fight. We got Fight of the Night that night, and like I said I’ve gotten a ton better.”
Names like Damacio Page and Scott Jorgensen have also come up when discussing the bantamweight title picture, but Benavidez will only be satisfied if one name is placed next to Cruz’s when the next title bout is announced… and that’s his name.
“I definitely think I’m the number one contender. I went out there and did something that no one’s ever done to Miguel Torres, and I’d be disappointed if I got anything else,” Benavidez said.
Now it’s up to the WEC to decide who will get the first shot at the title, and that job is not an easy one with several contenders all staking their claim. Time will only tell if Benavidez will get his shot, or if he’ll have to keep going with three-rounders until a title shot is offered somewhere down the road.