unkie.com MMA flyweight rankings. While Benavidez couldn't put away the former, he finished the later in spectacular fashion with a one-two combination and knee that put the Brazilian on the mat and forced the referee to intervene.
After the fight, as well as after the event, Benavidez deflected the question of whether his next opponent should be Johnson, who in July defended his title against John Moraga. In interviews, he's even spoken about his like for the champ, with whom he struck a friendship during the promotion of their title bout at UFC 152.
The results, however, speak for themselves.
"At the end of the day, I could bark for it, but it's not up to me," Benavidez said at UFC Fight Night 28's post-fight news conference. "So whatever the UFC decides."
Going into the UFC, Formiga was one of the top-ranked fighters in rankings which included the flyweight division. A loss in his debut robbed him of that momentum, but the fighter still was renowned for his top-level grappling, which brought him almost half of his professional wins.
Against Benavidez, however, Formiga appeared hesitant to force a grappling match. Benavidez admitted he was surprised, though not entirely unhappy with the turn of events.
"With Jussier being such a great grappler, he usually goes in and forces the issue right away with the grappling," Benavidez said. "But I think he knew with me that he had to have a good setup shot or it wasn't going to really work, anyway. So he tried his luck on the feet, and I don't know, he must have felt comfortable there. He was keeping distance good and had me coming in and wasn't really attacking.
"So that surprised me a little bit, but I was excited to test him on the floor and see what I had going with such a great grappler. But it didn't happen that way, and I'm not complaining about it. I got the knockout."