Demetrious Johnson is statistically the most dominant champion in UFC history and has ruled the flyweight division with an iron fist from day 1. Perhaps the biggest threat to his title, Joseph Benavidez, has already been defeated twice by Johnson, making a third fight between the two a hard sell. When asked if he believes he can “get over the hump” that is Demetrious Johnson and claim the flyweight championship, Benavidez’s response was, “what hump?”:
“I don’t really think there’s a hump to get over,” Benavidez told reporters Wednesday. “I mean, I think a lot of people forget that we had a split decision in our first fight. The second fight, that’s all people are going to remember, which… that’s the sport. You remember the last fight. You remember the last thing. But people don’t realize how much of a coincidence that is. I mean, have you ever seen him knock anyone out with one punch besides that time? Have you ever seen me get knocked out with a punch or even hurt? So these things happen in MMA.
“The first fight could have gone either way. We both, obviously, got better since then. So I don’t think there’s a huge place where he’s better than me or anything. He puts things together really good, and I need to do the same. I have the ‘tools,’ as everyone says, to beat him.”
Joseph Benavidez’s only two losses in the UFC have come to Demetrious Johnson. His Johnson-less UFC record is an astonishing 12-0. It makes one wonder whether Benavidez is worthy of placement on the P4P list, especially considering that one of his losses to the #1 P4P fighter was via a split decision. Benavidez’s last victory in the Octagon came against the current front runner to face Johnson in what would also be a rematch: Henry Cejudo. And Benavidez believes that a win over Sergio Pettis would make it hard not to bump him right back up to the top of the contender’s list:
“I think even a sixth fight for us is more exciting, maybe even more marketable than some of the fights he’s been doing, just to fill the card again and him defending his title.
“Seven wins in a row… I think it’ll be hard to deny me after that, especially since he’s fought everybody else and I beat the next guy in line, Henry Cejudo.
“So not a big hump as much as like, giving me another chance to go out there and do it.”
Joseph Benavidez makes a compelling case for a third fight against Demetrious Johnson. A win over Sergio Pettis might indeed be enough to give Joseph Benavidez a third opportunity to prove that there is no hump to surmount, but that he is the hump of the flyweight division, that nobody but the reigning champion has been able to ascend.
Would you be interested in seeing a third Johnson/Benavidez fight?