It wasn’t the ending he was looking for, but the chances of Joseph Benavidez becoming the flyweight champion are over for now. Saturday night marked the first time Benavidez had been stopped in a fight since his career began back in 2006. We can now officially count Benavidez out of the flyweight title race.
Back when the flyweight division was created, many thought Benavidez was guaranteed to win the title. Some picked him to defeat champion Demetrious Johnson both times that the two fought. Now Benavidez will face a tough question to answer: where does he go from here?
Everyone knows how talented Benavidez is. He has scary power for a flyweight or bantamweight. Though he lost by knockout, there is no question that Benavidez is still the second- or third-best flyweight in the game. His history before Saturday solidifies that. Benavidez has yet to lose to a flyweight without the nickname Mighty Mouse. In his career, the only other person he has lost to is Dominick Cruz by decision.
As far as flyweight title hopes are concerned, the only thing Benavidez can do at this point is hope someone unseats Johnson as champion. That is the only way he will have his third chance at the UFC flyweight title.
Benavidez will continue to run through any opponent the UFC puts in front of him at flyweight. He is just that much better than the rest of the division. He has dominated Darren Uyenoyama, Jussier da Silva and Ian McCall, who is currently ranked in the top-10 according to the UFC.
Johnson is not unbeatable, but until someone cracks the code, Benavidez will be on the outside looking in.