Joseph Benavidez has reflected on his loss at UFC 259 and what it could mean for his future in fighting. The four-time flyweight title challenger was defeated by Askar Askarov via unanimous decision, which was his third straight loss following two failed title bids against current champion Deiveson Figueiredo.
Speaking with his wife and UFC broadcaster Megan Olivi on their podcast, “At Home with Benalivi” on Wednesday, Benavidez was honest about how he has been feeling a bit differently prior to and during some of his most recent fights.
“It’s a little different, but it’s one of those things,” said Benavidez. “That is probably the most minuscule thing and you can easily win like that. You can easily perform like that, but if I’m talking just about everything, I couldn’t find that. I couldn’t find the adrenaline, the excitement, the explosiveness and its a tough realization because I feel like why couldn’t I find that? You come to this point I think in every sport that you just feel like you’re not the same person in there anymore. I’m not who maybe I used to be in there and I’ve had those thoughts for a long time, fighting for 15 years.
“I’ve even had it in practice leading up to this sometimes, but practice is practice,” Benavidez continued. “Day in and day out, you have a good day, you have a bad day, so you always know you’ll have a good day. But yeah, in the fight, that’s exactly how I felt. Some of the things that just came so natural to me, like a scramble. I’m mister scramble and I see in the second round, I get held down and that was never a worry to me because taking me down is like taking yourself down. It’s pretty hard to hold on to and it wasn’t a thing to me.”
Benavidez praised Askarov for his performance, but could not help but be disappointed in his own. After moving past the two Figueiredo losses, Benavidez was hoping to re-establish himself as a top contender in the flyweight division with a solid performance against an up-and-coming talent like Askarov.
A win would have likely put Benavidez on the right path again, but it did not happen and he has started to consider what comes next for him as far as fighting is concerned.
“I thought I could get out of that disappointment and win, knock this guy off and show I could compete at the top and have the rare opportunity to walk away on top somehow. Or at least, still competing at the best, which I’ve always done my whole career and I just thought I could avoid that inevitable disappointment. I could slip away with it somehow and just get it, but it’s just hard.
“Not that if I would’ve won or lost, I had anything decided as far as my future goes. You win and you still feel good. I never had a plan in mind. This year I came in and was like, I’m gonna fight the rest of the year if it’s one or two fights and we’ll see how it goes. But it was more about having fun.”