With a win over Ian Loveland at UFC 128, former bantamweight title contender Joseph Benavidez successfully made his transition from his former home in the WEC to his new home in the UFC.
Now the Team Alpha Male fighter is ready for another home. Literally.
Benavidez recently bought his first house, and while he’s in the process of moving and getting things in order, he’s taking some much needed time off.
“Joseph just bought his first house, he’s going to take a little bit of time off, he’s been pretty active,” Benavidez’s manager, Mike Roberts of MMA Inc., told MMAWeekly Radio. “He wants to kind of get his life in order, just bought a house, he’s going to be getting that together, which is a pretty big step for a young guy.
“You probably won’t see him back till around August.”
Benavidez has picked up two wins in a row since a decision loss to current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz last August. It was the second time he’s lost to Cruz in his career, but Benavidez has remained near the very top of the 135-pound division with wins in every other fight he’s had.
The tough part for Benavidez right now, however, is that his close friend and mentor Urijah Faber is now at 135 pounds and taking on Cruz in July with the bantamweight title on the line. While there is no doubt that Benavidez is one of the top fighters in that weight class, with either Cruz or Faber sitting at the top, he’s not likely to fight for the title again any time soon.
“Joseph has made it very clear he won’t fight Urijah. Never say never obviously and enough money will make anybody fight at some point, but it would take a lot of money to get Joseph to fight Urijah,” Roberts revealed.
“Urijah was a big part in changing Joseph’s entire life, and not just for Joseph, but for Joseph’s whole family. Honestly, I think Joseph doesn’t feel like Urijah’s like a teammate or a friend, I really feel like Joseph would feel fighting Urijah would be like actually fighting his brother. That relationship means more than any amount of money.”
Regardless of titles or rankings, Benavidez isn’t shy in his belief that he’s still the top bantamweight in the sport, and willing to fight to prove it. It just won’t be against his good friend Urijah Faber, and the UFC isn’t likely to make a third fight between Benavidez and Cruz.
The best future option for Benavidez to get a crack at gold would be if the UFC ever adopts the 125-pound flyweight class, which has long been planned, just not implemented yet.
If the flyweights ever come into the UFC, Benavidez would be the first one ready to drop the weight and challenge himself at 125 pounds.
“There’s more than a pretty good shot, there’s about 150-percent chance,” Roberts said about the odds Benavidez would drop to 125 pounds.
“If the flyweights ever come, I think you’ll see Joseph and Charlie Valencia will be the first two guys signing up for that weight division.”
But for now the flyweight division remains on hold, and Benevidez is happy to continue his run at 135 pounds, even if that means fighting the best, but not fighting for the belt.