DeAnna Bennett

DeAnna Bennett (Credit: Bellator MMA)

DeAnna Bennett eager to showcase her value to flyweight division, feels there will be no avoiding her after win at Bellator 284

DeAnna Bennett wasn’t exactly happy with being booked for a rematch against Justine Kish, but she plans to send a message to the division at Bellator 284.

If you’ve followed combat sports and women’s MMA, DeAnna Bennett is a name that should jump off the paper and ring a bell to all. The 10-year veteran has been a staple among women MMA fighters since she began, having fought for Invicta FC, The Ultimate Fighter Season 26, and now, Bellator MMA.

Since 2020, Bennett has been part of Bellator’s women’s flyweight division, making her promotional debut against Liz Carmouche, a fight that Bennett lost by third-round submission. She would bounce back from her promotional debut just over one year later at Bellator 266, when she defeated Alejandra Lara by unanimous decision, and then extended that winning streak to two fights with a dominant decision victory over Justine Kish earlier this year.

Riding a two-fight winning streak under the Bellator banner, DeAnna Bennett now finds herself as the sixth-ranked flyweight in the division and is preparing a rematch with Kish at Bellator 284. In an interview with MyMMANews, “Vitamin D” explained why she wasn’t exactly thrilled to take the immediate rematch against Kish, the state of the flyweight division, and why other ranked opponents won’t be able to avoid her moving forward.

With the scorecards of their first meeting coming in at 30-26, 30-26, and 30-27, it appeared that there was no question that Bennett was ready for a high-ranking opponent, but that opponent didn’t feel the same. When asked why she accepted the rematch against Kish, Bennett revealed she didn’t have much of a choice, and then took aim at Kish’s most recent opponent, former champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.

“Well, it wasn’t by my choice, how bout that one? When they offered that to me I said ‘Why? She was my very last fight, why should I have to fight her again?’ When I get done with my last fight, I called out Ilima and she chose the girl that I lost to because she thought that would be the easier win. I will fight anyone. I called out basically everybody that was ranked above me and the only person that would say they would fight me was Justine. So it came down to I either fight this August 12th against Justine or I might not get a chance to fight for a while so I said ‘Ok, well I’ll take this fight. But just know that when I win, and I’m going to win, again. She can say she wasn’t ready in her last fight but I’m 10 times more ready for this fight than I was last fight, so it’s going to be the same result.”

After getting the win over Kish and knowing there should’ve been a bigger opportunity and challenge awaiting her next, DeAnna Bennett said she was mad when Macfarlane opted to fight the girl that she had just defeated in dominant fashion.

“Honestly I was really mad that the fight was made. After my last fight, Ilima’s the fight that I wanted, she was the No. 1 contender, I was seventh at the time, I don’t know. The rankings are bullshit, I do agree with her [Macfarlane] on that one. I wanted that fight and she’s the one who made the decision to fight Justine instead. It was no one else’s decision but hers, obviously Bellator backed it because it was the card in Hawaii. It is what it is but she made that decision and I don’t think she wants to fight me. So I was mad cause I was pushing for that fight myself and I couldn’t get it. The fact that it was with Justine and then she won I was like ‘Great, I’m glad’ and I watched it live and then I watched it, my coaches made me sit down and do tape. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed.”

Now that they’re set to meet again at Bellator 284, Bennett downplayed Kish’s thoughts on their first fight and said that this fight will be no different than their first encounter.

“What got me was that after our fight, Justine said in an interview that she felt she was wrestle-humped to death and I was like ‘Oh, that’s cool cause that’s how you just won your fight.’ I mean, I think I threw more punches at her face. If she thinks she’s going to do that to me by all means give that a try cause I got training partners that try every single day and they can tell you how that goes.”

If all goes according to plan for DeAnna Bennett she will improve her record to 13-7-1, extend her winning streak to three victories, and pick up a win over someone ranked right outside the Top-5. With all that to behind her, Bennett knows that there will be nowhere for other top contenders to run, and they won’t be able to avoid a fight with her.

“This is a statement fight. It’s not just rematching Justine, it’s making sure the rest of the division knows where I stand and what I can do, and that I’m coming for it.”

DeAnna Bennett doesn’t need a rankings system to show she belongs at the top of Bellator MMA’s flyweight division, instead, she’ll prove it inside the cage, and when there’s no one else willing to fight her, she’ll take on any and all challengers until the message is received. She’s coming for the top of the division, she’s coming for the champion, and being a 10-year veteran of the sport, she’s ready to add champion to her resume.

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