If the UFC is getting rid of the flyweight division that comes as news to former title contender Joseph Benavidez, who just signed a new four fight deal with the promotion.
Benavidez returns to action next weekend at the first ever UFC on ESPN+ card from Brooklyn where he faces Dustin Ortiz in a fight at 125 pounds. Benavidez will also serve as the backup to the main event between flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and T.J. Dillashaw just in case one of them is unable to compete on Jan. 19.
Benavidez says when he signed his new contract, nothing was stated to him about the flyweight division going away or that he might have to fight at bantamweight to fulfill his deal.
“I just signed a new four fight deal. I think that’s another good sign,” Benavidez said about the future of the flyweight division on Wednesday. “I didn’t even know guys were getting cut until I saw them fighting in RIZIN and I was like ‘how did those guys get cut?’ cause those things are always kind of announced. The way that I gauge it is look there’s a flyweight title fight. One of the best pound-for-pound guys is coming down to our weight to fight. We have a new champion that’s headlining the first card ever with ESPN. That’s how I gauge it. I’m fighting on it, there’s other fights being signed.
“So I just look at it like that and then after the fight look at it again.”
Obviously, Benavidez isn’t ignoring the concerns being raised after several prominent flyweights were released not to mention former champion Demetrious Johnson being traded away to ONE Championship.
Regardless, Benavidez can only worry about what’s directly in front of him and right now that’s a matchup at 125 pounds against Ortiz next weekend.
That’s why he’s not going to spend much time theorizing or playing hypotheticals about what happens at flyweight after the first UFC on ESPN+ card is finished.
“Right now it’s business as usual,” Benavidez said. “I’ve got a fight on the same card as the title fight and that’s really all there is. I haven’t really heard any talk other than that.”