Joseph Benavidez’s new contract extension with the UFC adds an interesting wrinkle to the prophesied Ragnarok of the promotion’s flyweight division. The two-time flyweight title challenger has been a vocal proponent of keeping the division alive amid rumors of its demise in the aftermath of Demetrious Johnson’s departure to ONE Championship.
Benavidez tells MMAjunkie he has signed a four-fight extension with the UFC at flyweight. “I think everything really chilled out once they got that fight, because it’s steady, and we can’t really do anything in the division until after this fight,” Benavidez said of UFC Brooklyn’s main event for the flyweight strap. “Business as usual until you hear otherwise.”
Fighters like Jose “Shorty” Torres were released by the UFC amid rumors of the flyweight division’s closure. UFC president Dana White has been non-committal about the future of flyweight, but has threatened to shut it down in the past. When asked if a move to bantamweight was discussed during contract negotiations, Benavidez revealed the promotion “didn’t bring it up.”
Benavidez will meet Dustin Ortiz at UFC Brooklyn on Saturday, Jan. 19. He was previously slated as a replacement should Henry Cejudo or T.J. Dillashaw pull out of the main event. It is uncertain what should happen if either main event fighter is ineligible to fight, but don’t be surprised to see Benavidez thrust into the main event slot and leave Ortiz in the dust.
UFC Brooklyn is headlined by a UFC flyweight championship bout between newly-minted champion Cejudo and bantamweight kingpin Dillashaw. The promotion’s inaugural event on ESPN+ also features Donald Cerrone vs. Alexander Hernandez, Paige VanZant vs. Rachael Ostovich, and Gregor Gillespie vs. Yancy Medeiros.