Another flyweight fight will be going down at UFC 233 in Anaheim on January 26. Number three ranked flyweight Joseph Benavidez will be taking on number five ranked flyweight Deiveson Figueiredo.
— UFC (@ufc) December 4, 2018
It is interesting that a flyweight has been booked as the rumor going around was that the UFC was closing the flyweight division down. However, Benavidez doesn’t believe that will be the case.
“The commentary – I’m just trying to change it,” Benavidez said after his TUF 28 Finale win. “Everybody’s like, ‘When’s it leaving? Is this the last fight? Are they still doing it? Are you going up (in weight)?’
“Why aren’t people talking about how exciting it is? We’ve got a pound-for-pound champion in T.J. (Dillashaw) coming down to our weight to fight an Olympic champion who just beat the greatest ever. I have a win over Henry. T.J.’s an ex-teammate of mine – the story’s there. The skill is obviously there, as much as in any division.”
Ultimately, the main event is a flyweight title fight where Henry Cejudo will take on bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. Meaning, Benavidez may very well serve as the backup fighter for the main event.
Benavidez most recently fought on the TUF 28 Finale in which he defeated Alex Perez by TKO. Before that, Benavidez lost to Sergio Pettis to end his six-fight winning streak that includes a win over current champion, Henry Cejudo. The 34-year-old has never been a UFC champion but is always a perennial contender but could never get past Demetrious Johnson.
As for Figueiredo he most recently fought in August at UFC Fight Night 135. Figueiredo is currently 15-0 including four wins inside the Octagon against Marco Beltran, Jarred Brooks, Joseph Morales and most recently John Moraga.
If the flyweight division does indeed stay, this fight could very well decide who will be getting the next title shot against the winner of Cejudo-Dillashaw. Benavidez has already called out the winner, and it should be expected whoever wins this fight will call out the flyweight champion.
Meanwhile, UFC President Dana White isn’t as optimistic that the flyweight division will stay following UFC 233.
“It is murky – it is murky right now,” White told MMAjunkie. “Obviously we still have fights going on – Cejudo is going to fight Dillashaw, and we’ll just see how this thing plays out.”