Five years and nine months ago, Jussier Formiga was knocked out by Joseph Benavidez in the Braziian’s third Octagon outing, back in September 2013. Now, 10 fights later and with much more fighting experience, he feels ready to take on the challenge again, at UFC Minneapolis.
In fact, Formiga feels like he evolved so much that he doesn’t even feel like the same fighter who took on Benavidez all those years ago. In an interview with Combate, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt guaranteed that fans can expect an entirely different bout when they meet again.
“I don’t see this fight as a rematch,” Formiga said. “I see it as a new fight for me. I can’t take away his merit, he won, but that was six years ago. I was a one kind of athlete and I’m completely different now. You can be sure it’ll be different on Saturday.”
Additionally, Formiga sees that loss as a learning experience and shares that he was a fan of Benavidez since the WEC days, but won’t that let feeling getting in the way when they meet again.
“I learned a lot in that fight,” Formiga said. “I’ve been a fan on Benavidez since the WEC. When I heard I was going to face him in 2013, it was a bittersweet feeling. It was sweet to know I would fight him but it was bitter because I would fight a tough guy. I have no excuses, he beat me. I’m still a fan of his, but it’s different now, I’m another athlete and I’ll put on a show on Saturday. He’ll meet a new athlete, a different guy.”
Currently on a four-fight winning streak, Jussier Formiga (23-5) defeated Deiveson Figueiredo, Sergio Pettis, Ben Nguyen and Ulka Sasaki in his last four outings. Now, the 34-year-old is expected to meet Joseph Benavidez at UFC on ESPN 3, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 29. The card is expected to be headlined by a heavyweight bout between contenders Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos.