The UFC is looking to run back February’s Joseph Benavidez vs. Deiveson Figueiredo fight.
While not entirely surprising, the news — first reported by MMA Junkie — means the flyweight division has some life left in it yet. The weight class has once again been in limbo, after the pair’s original meeting at UFC Norfolk went sideways rather quickly.
That February fight saw Figueiredo miss weight for the bout, the first major title shot of his career. Leaving only Benavidez eligible for the title. A huge opportunity — but instead, Figueiredo knocked out the American (officially a TKO) in the second round of their main event affair.
That left the UFC’s 125lb title vacant — as it has been since Henry Cejudo vacated the strap. In fact, the belt has not been defended since January of 2019, when Cejudo defeated T.J. Dillashaw.
Figueiredo (18-1) has won three straight, but having him try to make championship weight again is out of necessity rather than anything else. Due to the win over Benavidez, it’s hard to deny him the chance — but it’s also worth noting that the Brazilian has never made championship weight, and was 2.5lb over the title fight limit in Norfolk.
Benavidez (28-6) is the most recognizable name left in the UFC’s smallest men’s division. UFC Norfolk was his third shot at gold, however. His two previous attempts were losses to Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson — for the inaugural title in 2012, and a rematch the following year.
“Joe B” holds notable wins over former champ Cejudo, Jussier Formiga, Ian McCall, John Moraga, and a host of other names — a who’s who of the flyweight division.
The UFC is reportedly targeting July 18 for the pair’s rematch. Not official announcement has been made, and the event does not yet have a location or name.