The Book of Joseph: Meet the Kill Cliff FIGHT CLUB Fighter
The 37-year-old newly retired mixed martial artist competed in the flyweight division of the UFC. He did pretty good! Joseph holds the record for most wins and knockouts in the UFC flyweight division. After 20 years of training, fighting and winning, Benavidez announced his retirement from MMA in September. We’ve collected a few things you might not know about the proud Kill Cliff Fight Clubber. Starting with…
Where Is Joseph Benavidez From?
Joseph was born in San Antonio, Texas, and grew up with his mother and two brothers. His father went to prison when he was six-years-old. He moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, and started boxing at Las Cruces High School and when he was 16, he began wrestling. Joseph became a New Mexico State wrestling champion soon after picking up the sport.
Did Joseph Benavidez Knock Out His Personal Demons?
Absolutely, but it wasn’t a quick KO. After one semester at William Penn University, Joseph dropped out and struggled with longtime alcohol and drug abuse. He told MMAMania, “every male in my family has had either a drinking or drug problem.” One time while under the influence, Joseph crashed his car with a friend and went to jail for 30 days. That’s when he realized that he was going down the same path that others in his family had gone down. He chose to become sober and turned his sights toward MMA.
How Did Joseph Benavidez Get His Start in MMA?
Team Alpha Male, baby. While fighting in smaller shows, Joseph worked as a screen printer in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to make a living. He sought out Urijah Faber on a trip to California in 2007 and impressed the MMA veteran. Faber offered the young stud a job at the front desk of his gym, allowing Joseph to leave New Mexico and train with Faber and his Team Alpha Male squad.
What Happened After the Dream's Fight Was Cancelled?
He got Kodo instead. In 2008, Joseph was offered a fight with Norifumi Yamamoto by Japanese MMA-promoter Dream. It was cancelled days before the fight and Joseph was instead matched against Junya Kodo, whom he defeated by guillotine choke submission.
That Time He Entered Cage
Joseph was signed by World Extreme Cagefighting and won against Danny Martinez in unanimous decision in 2008. He spent the next couple of years cagefighting. Which led to…
In 2010, World Extreme Cagefighting merged with the UFC. With the merger, all WEC fighters were transferred to the UFC. In Joseph’s debut, he won his fight against Ian Loveland via unanimous decision. He spent the next 11 years fighting in the UFC and achieved being ranked in the top three in his weight classes for 20 years straight. During his career he scored wins over Henry Cejudo, Jussier Formiga, Alex Perez, Tim Elliott, John Moraga, Dustin Ortiz and Ian McCall.
Who Is Joseph Benavidez Married To?
Joseph married UFC reporter Megan Olivi in 2015. The two share a dog, Benny, who they refer to as their “son.” They also have a podcast called, “At Home with Benalivi.” (Get it? Bena-Livi?)
Why Did Joseph Benavidez Retire?
In September, Joseph announced his retirement from MMA. He described fighting feeling more like a job instead of fun and said, “it was time to move on. My last title shot was definitely my last shot.” There’s no doubt Joseph will be remembered as one of the best flyweight fighters of all-time.
…He’s on Insta
Feel free to connect: @joejitsu
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Nickname: “The Beefcake” or “Joey Two Times”
Trained at: Team Alpha Male (Urijah Faber’s Jiu-Jitsu Ultimate Fitness) based in Scramento, California
Octogan Debut: March 20, 2011
Leg reach: 36
Pro MMA Record: 28-8-0 (win-loss-draw)