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TUF coaches Joseph Benavidez, Henry Cejudo set aside personal goals for ‘investment’ in flyweight division

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LOS ANGELES — When Joseph Benavidez first heard the idea for The Ultimate Fighter 24, he was understandably not happy about it.

On paper, there’s not much more Benavidez can do to earn another shot at Demetrious Johnson’s UFC flyweight title. Yes, he has lost to Johnson twice already, but he also has five straight wins over top competition. Benavidez has only lost to two men in his entire career: Johnson and bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.

So when Benavidez heard that TUF 24 would be a tournament to determine the next flyweight No. 1 contender — featuring champions from outside organizations — he was a tad steamed.

“When the show started and the premise came out, I was a little bitter about it,” Benavidez told MMA Fighting at a media breakfast Tuesday in Hollywood. “Because if anyone should get the title shot, it should be me. Five wins in a row, whatever. World-class guys. And now you’re going to bring in someone who isn’t even in the UFC to get it?”

Benavidez and fellow elite flyweight Henry Cejudo were chosen as TUF coaches. The idea of training and advising fighters that are vying for the very same thing as them — the UFC flyweight belt — was strange. But after getting the opportunity, both Benavidez and Cejudo are happy with the outcome. TUF 24 premieres Wednesday night on Fox Sports 1.

“It’s good for the flyweight division,” Cejudo said. “Maybe Joe didn’t get the title shot that he wanted, but we’re able to hype this freakin’ division back up. People are gonna be watching, they’re gonna tune in. I think this is gonna have the highest ratings in the history of TUF, I really do.”

The flyweight division has been panned in the past and Johnson’s drawing power has been called into ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting