For Benavidez that's a change. Fans have grown accustomed to seeing the 14-1 fighter's name near the top of UFC fight cards, but Benavidez isn't too concerned about it. In fact, he's approaching his placement on the fight card as little more than an obstacle to overcome, "It's a different challenge in front of me," said Benavidez.
That challenge is not without its benefits, according to the Team Alpha Male product, "Obviously I'd rather be talking about the title or having a title, but this is how it is. I have a good opponent, and it's a good card. I don't really mind it. I get to enjoy the whole main card. Enjoy (that) right after me my teammate fights. It's different and I'll make the best of it."
Benavidez can thank Demetrious Johnson for the placement he received on the Baltimore based fight card. It was Johnson that defeated Benavidez in his last outing, handing him the first knockout loss of his career, with a first round stoppage in the main event of UFC on Fox 9.
In looking back at the result of that fight, Benavidez offered no complaints or excuses. He also refused to label the defeat a learning experience, "That one wasn't a learning lesson like the first one (loss to Johnson at UFC 152), this one was more like a test - a test of my confidence, (a test) of my faith to see if I could bounce back."
The first step to bouncing back will be a win over Elliott (10-4-1). While Benavidez will be favored in the fight, he's not taking his opponent or the fight lightly, "There's still something for me to go out there and prove," said Benavidez.
Benavidez is familiar with Elliott. He said he has watched him perform in the past and that, "From the first time (I saw him), I thought ‘I like this kid.' He's super cool, (with an) exciting style. I love that he's always going forward and putting on an exciting fight, and I always thought that it would be a really good fight (between) me and him."
One of the things that Benavidez noticed about Elliott was his fighting style, a style that could be called unconventional or awkward. Benavidez (sort of) likened Elliott to a man he fought in the past, former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, "A lot of things I used to prepare for Cruz I brought back to prepare for Elliott. Cruz has more of a rhythm to his movement, where Elliott is almost harder because he is almost off rhythm. It's more herky-jerky. You never know what he's going to do, he doesn't react properly to things."
Like the mission to get his name back on the main card, Benavidez sees Elliott as another challenge, "It's definitely different, and I look forward to the challenge. There's going to be some adjustments when I get in there, but I like that, I like that art of the fight. That adjustment on the fly and testing myself in the heat of battle."
That battle will take place on Fox Sports 1 on Saturday night.