Joseph Benavidez is fully aware that he may never get another chance at UFC gold, but he has no plans on walking away from the sport.
Benavidez (28-7) went to the his post-fight press conference following his first-round submission loss to Deiveson Figueirdo and was very emotional after losing another flyweight championship fight.
“I’ve died freaking 100 times,” Benavidez told MMA Junkie. “What’s another death? It’s different because I know I did everything right in preparation. I didn’t take any shortcuts. I did everything right. … I felt good in there, honestly. I felt focused and present even with the no crowd. Fights go fast but I could see little movements felt focused.”
Now Benavidez will look to the next chapter in his fighting career. This fight marked the fifth time that he’s come up short of claiming a world title. He lost once for a WEC title and four times for a UFC championship.
“I knew last fight was my last title attempt,” Benavidez said. “It wasn’t because of circumstances so this one certainly was. I wasn’t fighting in this sport from the beginning for any other reason than being the best. I’ve been close. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been in that top two or three for 11 years at two weight classes. It’s been a crazy journey. It’s been awesome.”
Benavidez will not quit fighting despite knowing his title opportunities are most likely behind him. He does not want his career to end like it did on Saturday.
“I’m not going out like that and nothing is guaranteed in this sport for sure, but I’m not going to get another title shot,” Benavidez said. “I don’t want to go out on that, so I just want to go out with another fight. After that, there’s nothing else for me to do. I’m not going to beat 10 guys again. I know that was my last title shot but like I just said don’t want to go out on that.”
Despite being heavy-hearted given the tough loss, Benavidez was still thankful for everything in his life.
“(I’m) overall just grateful for life,” Benavidez said. “To do it and to be able to do this is a blessing in itself. That’s just on the fight side. I’m grateful for the opportunities and be able to do it. I came in at two in the morning. It’s dark and I walk out and it’s light before I go to the bathroom. Now, I’m taking punches to the face at six in the morning. It’s funny to hear that but I’m grateful that I’m capable to do that.”