Emotional Joseph Benavidez knows he had his last UFC title shot, but won’t retire yet

ABU DHABI – Joseph Benavidez knows his championship aspirations won’t come to fruition – but he’s not willing to go out like he did at UFC on ESPN+ 30.

At the post-fight news conference following his first-round submission loss to Deiveson Figueiredo, an emotional Benavidez (28-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) took to the podium to field questions from reporters. Breaking down several times during his answers, Benavidez gave insight on the emotions that come with a fourth UFC title shot loss.

“I’ve died freaking 100 times,” Benavidez told MMA Junkie. “What’s another death? It’s different because I know I did everything right in preparation. I didn’t take any shortcuts. I did everything right. … I felt good in there, honestly. I felt focused and present even with the no crowd. Fights go fast but I could see little movements felt focused.”

Despite the loss, Benavidez explained there’s a lot that he’s appreciative of. From his wife to his corners to being able to fight for a career, Benavidez ran through some of the positive aspects of his life.

“(I’m) overall just grateful for life,” Benavidez said. “To do it and to be able to do this is a blessing in itself. That’s just on the fight side. I’m grateful for the opportunities and be able to do it. I came in at two in the morning. It’s dark and I walk out and it’s light before I go to the bathroom. Now, I’m taking punches to the face at six in the morning. It’s funny to hear that but I’m grateful that I’m capable to do that.”

Five times Benavidez had the opportunity to earn gold, including once in the WEC – and five times he came up short. Though a tough pill to swallow, Benavidez admits his UFC title hopes are behind him.

“I knew last fight was my last title attempt,” Benavidez said. “It wasn’t because of circumstances so this one certainly was. I wasn’t fighting in this sport from the beginning for any other reason than being the best. I’ve been close. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been in that top two or three for 11 years at two weight classes. It’s been a crazy journey. It’s been awesome.”

When asked about what’s next, Benavidez said he’s not done fighting. Benavidez said he’s unwilling to have his career end in that fashion and expects to compete again in the future.

“I’m not going out like that and nothing is guaranteed in this sport for sure, but I’m not going to get another title shot,” Benavidez said. “I don’t want to go out on that, so I just want to go out with another fight. After that, there’s nothing else for me to do. I’m not going to beat 10 guys again. I know that was my last title shot but like I just said don’t want to go out on that.”

The flyweight title bout was the UFC on ESPN+ 30 main event at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. It streamed on ESPN+.

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Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/07/emotional-joseph-benavidez-knows-he-had-his-last-ufc-title-shot-but-wont-retire-yet/

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