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UFC 128 Weigh-ins: Joseph Benavidez
Training: Typically 3 workouts a day - grappling/MMA in the morning, Muay Thai/ boxing in the early afternoon and then strength & conditioning in the late afternoon. With sparring 3-4 times during the week.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I took up wrestling in high school and even a year in college. That was great experience for fighting. When I was done with wrestling I coached a little and still wanted to compete. I thought I would be good at MMA. I began fighting in small shows in Las Cruces, New Mexico mainly for fun, competition and a little money. I started dedicating lots of time to this, and it was all I wanted to do. I told myself I have to find a way to only do this for a living. I knew it was possible and I believed in my talents. I moved out to California, started training with Urijah (Faber) and it’s gone just how I wanted it to. Now my motivation, besides the obvious, is to never have a real job again.
What ranks and titles have you held? None in MMA yet. State Wrestling Champion of New Mexico 2000.
Do you have any heroes? My Mom and Grandma.
What is your favorite technique? The schoolyard push, Double uppercut and anything that makes people say wow and my opponent go ow!
What does it mean for you to fight in the WEC? I’m very happy to fight in the WEC. It means I have to train a lot harder and keep getting better. The competition is fierce. This is what I wanted when I moved, a chance to see how good I am and to try to become the best. I can only do this in the WEC.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I went to college one year and did some wrestling.
What was your job before you started fighting? A Screenprinter at GSI graphic services in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Most memorable professional fight? Fighting in Japan was the most memorable for the experience alone. It was the first time I had been out of the country and I got to be a part of a way different culture. It was my breakout fight that got me noticed on a big stage and the publicity for that fight was all new to me as well. Life is all about experiences and that was a great one for me.
What was your most challenging professional fight ? I would say Justin Smitley. April 07’. I won by TKO in the 3rd round and went up in weight also. It was the first time I had been into the 3rd round. It was a great fight and I was really pushed.... Thanks Smitley. You da man!
Did you compete in any other sport at college or professional level? 1 year of college wrestling and I had dreams of becoming a professional volleyball player...If dreams count?
Who were your training partners for this fight? Trainers Master Thong, Fabio Prado, Juan Lazcano and Dave Rowan. Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, Justin Buchholz, Danny Castillo, TJ Dillashaw, Dustin Akbari, Alex Sandoval, Anthony Avila, Kascey Uscola, Scott Nelson, Kito Andrews and a bunch of other tough guys at Ultimate Fitness that I may have forgot. Thanks guys.
Did you put more emphasis towards a fighting style or adjust your training to prepare for your opponent (what did you do differently/why)? Tried to get lots of sparring and grappling with tall guys to get used to his length.
What, other than WINNING, are you using for motivation for the fight? Coming off my first career loss, I’m motivated to show people and myself the fighter that I know I can be. Rani Yahya is a great opponent to do so. It always motivates me to fight the best guys out there. That’s what I’ve worked for, and I love these experiences that my hard work have given me and want to continue to have them. I can’t see it any other way. Also all my family, friends and fans out there that have cheered and sacrificed for me motivate me. It makes them happy when I win. So I want to keep them smiling and hopefully inspire a few people along the way.
What is your favorite thing about this sport? Well, I would be a fan of the sport if I didn’t do it and the fact and chance that I do it is great alone. Then there is the ultimate... Getting to do what I love for a living!!
How long do you see yourself staying in this sport? I want to be around it in some way very long term. I never want to have a regular job that I don’t enjoy. That is why I work so hard now at this to build legitimacy and credentials. That will hopefully make it easier to be involved in some way down the road.