It was all a matter of time before Joseph Benavidez faced Eddie Wineland. He knew it prior to signing the contract for his UFC on Versus 5 fight with the former WEC bantamweight champion.
The two are scheduled to meet this Sunday in Milwaukee as part of the eventing’s undercard and Benavidez has been watching his opponent for a while now. Through all of his WEC fights and most recent outing against Urijah Faber at UFC 128, Wineland has caught the attention of most 135-pound fighters.
He’s a tough fighter and puts a hurting on his opposition. His two consecutive WEC “Knockout of the Night” awards are perfect examples of that.
Benavidez realizes he has a tough fight ahead of him, but that’s no sweat for the Team Alpha Male fighter. He’s confident he’ll beat Wineland, still.
“Eddie’s a tough opponent,” Benavidez told MMAWeekly Radio. “I knew it was a matter of time before I was going to fight him. So, now it’s time to fight him. I’ve been watching him for a long time and I always respected his style and everything.
“I think I’m better everywhere. He’s a threat, definitely in boxing, but even if he picked the way the fight wanted to go and boxed the whole time, I think I would still beat him.”
For Benavidez, it doesn’t matter what Wineland comes with on Sunday night. You see, he feels he comes with as many styles as he has nicknames. So while “Joenan the Barbarian” gets in the mix in the Octagon, he’ll keep opponents on their toes by adapting and changing things up like a chameleon.
“I feel I’m going to fight the same way, no matter what I’m called,” Benavidez said. “But I do feel like I have a lot of different styles. I’m kind of like a chameleon out there.”
While beating Eddie Wineland remains the top priority for “President Joebama” Benavidez, the bantamweight fighter has a bit of history with the elusive 135-pound champ Dominick Cruz.
Benavidez has only two losses on his professional mixed martial arts record. Both of those black marks came at the hands of Cruz. While Cruz took the first meeting by unanimous decision, the second fight was much closer on the judges scorecards. Unfortunately for the “Joemosapian,” he lost the second bout by split decision.
Getting a third fight with Cruz would be great, according to Benavidez. But he’ll be happy just fighting the best the UFC has to offer as long as a UFC title shot lies at the end of that road.
“Obviously, the title is my main goal,” he said. “I want to go in there and fight whoever has the belt. It’d be awesome to get a win over Dominick. I’ve come so close, I feel I failed twice, and the main goal is the title. So if he has it, that’s who I want to fight. If someone else has it, I think that there’s going to be a better chance of me getting it.
“Of course, I’d like to fight him again. Not only that, they were fun fights. He’s like a puzzle in there and hard to figure out and kind of fun to train for and fight.”