Joseph Benavidez has been a staple in the UFC for what seems like forever. His fan-friendly fight style and heartwarming story has endeared himself to not only the public but to the media and UFC brass. So when he announced his retirement from the sport after 10 years in the promotion, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room, Benavidez included.
“I’ve known I’ve been retired, so I didn’t also think it would be an emotional thing,” Benavidez told TSN on Wednesday. “But just reading a bunch of stuff, I was crying in the backyard – so it’s been a good day. I haven’t been able to put anything out myself yet.”
Fans and media took to Twitter to share their favorite memories of Benavidez’s long career, including his time in WEC, his four title fights and his many, many, many highlights.
“It just kind of came very sudden,” Benavidez said. “I’ve actually known I was going to retire for a while, but you have to make it official, I guess, to retire and do all that stuff – like tell the people that it concerns, like (UFC matchmaker) Mick Maynard, that you’re going to retire, and USADA and all that. So I actually just had to kind of do that yesterday because I was bored. I was like, ‘I should probably make this official.’ I’ve kind of been retired, in a way.”
In fact, before the news was made official, fans began to notice that his name had been removed from the rankings which is what forced the retirement to become public.
“So I talked to Mick, and he was like, ‘Yeah, you’re probably going to be out of the rankings here soon, so people will probably know what’s happening.’ I said cool. He said it’ll probably be until Monday, but then I got out of a workout, and I had a few people messaging me, and I was like, ‘Well, here we go. That’s how it is.’ In all honesty, I hadn’t really had time to post and to really take it all in.”
Benavidez made his MMA debut on June 3, 2006, his WEC debut on Dec. 3, 2008 and his UFC debut on March 19, 2011. He fought for the UFC title a total of four times, losing all four fights. He ends his career with a 28-8 record and will likely be in the UFC Hall of Fame someday.