MMA pioneer and UFC legend Joseph Benavidez has decided to call it a career.
MMA Junkie's Mike Bohn and Nolan King were the first to report the news, with Benavidez's wife UFC reporter Megan Olivi subsequently confirming her husband's departure from the sport with the following tweet.
Retirement adventures are gonna be fun -- My King Forever @JoeJitsu— Megan Olivi (@MeganOlivi) September 15, 2021
Benavidez finished his run as a professional mixed martial artist with a record of 28-8 and was a foundational piece in both the bantamweight and flyweight divisions making their way to the UFC in 2011. The 37-year old San Antonio, Texas native was a five-time title challenger across two divisions in the UFC and WEC, fighting the likes of former UFC champions Demetrious Johnson, Dominick Cruz, Henry Cejudo, Deiveson Figueiredo, and current Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis over the course of his illustrious run inside of the cage. Benavidez told TSN's Aaron Bronsteter the following about the process and thinking behind his decision to retire.
“It just kind of came very sudden,” Benavidez said (h/t MMA Junkie). “I’ve actually known I was going to retire for a while, but you have to make it official, I guess, to retire and do all that stuff – like tell the people that it concerns, like (UFC matchmaker) Mick Maynard, that you’re going to retire, and USADA and all that. So I actually just had to kind of do that yesterday because I was bored. I was like, ‘I should probably make this official.’ I’ve kind of been retired, in a way. So I talked to Mick, and he was like, ‘Yeah, you’re probably going to be out of the rankings here soon, so people will probably know what’s happening.’ I said cool. He said it’ll probably be until Monday, but then I got out of a workout, and I had a few people messaging me, and I was like, ‘Well, here we go. That’s how it is.’ In all honesty, I hadn’t really had time to post and to really take it all in. I’ve known I’ve been retired, so I didn’t also think it would be an emotional thing. But just reading a bunch of stuff, I was crying in the backyard – so it’s been a good day. I haven’t been able to put anything out myself yet.”
Joseph Benavidez was removed from the UFC rankings pool today after informing the UFC that he was retiring from MMA, so why hasn't he announced it publicly?:— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) September 16, 2021
"It's going to be really hard to put into words just how much 15 years of this and everyone's support has meant" pic.twitter.com/IcIYMYKRU4