Inaugural UFC flyweight champion is the tagline that will forever stand in front of the name Demetrious Johnson. No matter how long his reign lasts as champion of the UFC's 125-pound weight division, he will always be remembered as the first man to ever have that belt strapped around his waist.
On the flip side, the man he defeated to get that title, Joseph Benavidez, his name, like most of the vanquished, will be lost to history. That may seem somewhat unfair, but short of some remarkable moment, we rarely remember the name of the individual or teams that came out on the losing end of a championship contest.
Benavidez, who dropped to 16-3 with the split decision loss to Johnson, recently spoke to Duane Finley about that fight, as well as the upcoming rematch with Johnson that is scheduled to take place on November 30 as part of The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 Finale fight card:
I had to ask myself why I treated it like I did. I didn't enjoy training camp or anything about that fight. There was nothing fun about that experience and I needed to get back to that.
Benavidez recovered from the loss to Johnson by going on a three-fight winning streak. During that run, he defeated Ian McCall by unanimous decision and stopped both Darren Uyenoyama and Jussier Formiga via TKO. That streak set up a rematch with Johnson. A rematch that Benavidez will walk into with a much different mindset:
This next fight is against Demetrious, it's five rounds and there is a title on the line. The same things will be on the line as the first fight, but this is going to be just another fight for me. I lost the first one, but I really didn't lose anything. I didn't die, and everything was all right afterwards. My family and friends still loved me just the same after. This is just another fight for me and it's the next fight after my last one.
In a few months we'll find out if Benavidez's change in approach to fighting for a UFC title will result in a different outcome. If so, he may not be able to call himself the inaugural UFC flyweight champion, but he will always be remembered as one of the select few fighters that will be remembered as a UFC champion.
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