UFC 225 is just over a week away, and it’s easily the most anticipated card of the year thus far. One of the many key matchups slated for this event is a flyweight bout between #1 contender Joseph Benavidez and #5 ranked Sergio Pettis. Not only is that fight not on the pay-per-view main card, it’s not on the FS1 preliminary card, and not even the featured fight on the UFC Fight Pass prelims (that honor belongs to Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith).
Benavidez spoke to ESPN about the placement of his fight, and expressed his frustration with the UFC’s decision.
“No other person, in any division, with a No. 1 ranking and six wins in a row, would be buried on Fight Pass,” Benavidez said. “What other theory is there to have besides they are snubbing [the flyweight division] or it’s something personal towards me?
”You want to be respected by your bosses and peers. I’ve gone through a lot to get here. I’m doing my job. And that No. 1 ranking next to my name says I’m doing my job better than a good percentage of everyone else. It just doesn’t make sense.”
The men’s flyweight division has had a hard time getting on the main card, with a total of zero appearances thus far in 2018, and no indication that’s changing any time soon. While UFC 225 may be a big card with an expected sell-out, arenas are rarely filled up that early in the evening, so you might see plenty of empty seats when Benavidez and Pettis step into the cage.
Benavidez has not fought since December 2016, when he won a somewhat controversial decision over Henry Cejudo. A torn ACL sidelined him for all of 2017, but he’s returning soon in search of a seventh straight win, and a third crack at champion Demetrious Johnson.
UFC 225 takes place on June 9th in Chicago, Illinois and is headlined by a middleweight title fight between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero, with Rafael dos Anjos taking on Colby Covington for the interim welterweight title in the co-main event.