Joseph Benavidez says that even though he dislikes Deiveson Figueiredo, there’s no personal feud here.
Benavidez is set to take on Figueiredo for a second time on July 18 for the vacant UFC flyweight championship. Back in February, the two competed in Norfolk, Virginia. The bout was supposed to be for the vacant 125-pound gold but Figueiredo missed weight, so a champion would’ve only been crowned had Benavidez won. Figueiredo ended up scoring a second-round TKO win, so the title remained vacant.
Benavidez Dislikes Figueiredo, Says It Isn’t Personal
One narrative going into this rematch has been centered around the effectiveness of Figueiredo’s accidental headbutt to Benavidez in the first bout. Figueiredo has downplayed this and speaking to MMAFighting, Benavidez admitted that he’s bothered by that.
“It really does,” Benavidez told MMA Fighting when asked if Figueiredo’s demeanor bothered him. “Just the fact that he’s kind of like a villain to everybody I think. I don’t like him. That is rare for me. It’s not personal cause I don’t really know him, know him personally and everything. I definitely don’t like him.
“It definitely makes you want to go out there and hurt someone worse because when you fight, you win … you hurt him by proxy winning an MMA fight. You kind of have to. It’s one of those things where I want to put this guy away. I want to shut him up. I just don’t like him and that rarely happens in my career.”
Benavidez has yet to capture gold under the Zuffa umbrella despite numerous title opportunities. That includes the UFC and WEC banners. Many believe Saturday night could be Benavidez’s final shot at a world championship.
As for Figueiredo, he’s looking to finish what he started and capture UFC gold. To do that, he needs to beat Benavidez again, but he also has to make weight. If Figueiredo has another scale fail, Alexandre Pantoja will serve as a backup provided that he’s able to hit the 125-pound mark.