by Richard Hunter, MMA correspondent
Joe Benavidez is the most recognizable name not wearing a championship belt in The UFC’s flyweight division. The Team Alpha Male veteran was long thought to be the heir apparent to the 125 pound title when it was created in 2012. That distinction ended up going to Demetrious Johnson when the two fought, and a rematch a year later with Benavidez yielded the same result. To date, those two losses are the only defeats that Joe Benavidez has suffered as a UFC flyweight. He still holds the #2 ranking in the division, and Saturday night he takes on Dustin Ortiz in a fight that could help him lay claim to a third title shot.
Listen to Richard Hunter talk to Joe Benavidez as he previews his fight Saturday:
Ortiz is no opponent to sleep on. His grinding style of wrestling has taken him to a 3-1 record of hard fought contests, frequently employing his grinding wrestling style to stifle his opponents’ striking attacks. Benavides has noticed that as well, but tells me that he considers himself “ungrindable”, and his faith in his own well rounded skill set gives him confidence that Ortiz’s propensity for wrestling will not cause him to need to alter his own style at all to counter it. Benavides acknowledges that Ortiz’s best shot at beating him is his wrestling, but counters that he considers himself better in all areas of mixed martial arts.
Benavidez will be fighting Saturday night (FOX Sports 1, 10pm ET/7pm PT) in Austin, Texas, just a short distance from his birth city of San Antonio. Prelims on the card will air on FOX Sports 1 as well (8pm ET/5 pm PT), and on UFC Fight pass prior to that (7pm ET/4pm ET).
The card is headlined by a featherweight title contenders’ match between former lightweight champion #3 Frankie Edgar and #2 Cub Swanson. Dallas area natives Jared Rosholt and James Vick will also be featured.
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