The news that he was officially retired came out a little sooner than Joseph Benavidez expected, but it’s a decision he came to terms with a while back.
After fans noticed his name was removed from the UFC’s flyweight rankings, speculations arose and the news later became official that multiple-time title challenger and perennial contender Benavidez has decided to hang up his gloves.
Although it wasn’t news to Benavidez (28-8 MMA, 19-7 UFC) himself, the 37-year-old couldn’t help but get emotional when he saw the public’s support and praise for his accomplished career.
“I’ve known I’ve been retired, so I didn’t also think it would be an emotional thing,” Benavidez told TSN. “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?:
"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
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) September 16, 2021
Benavidez said once he notified the UFC of his decision and he was removed from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool, everything happened fast.
“It just kind of came very sudden,” Benavidez said. “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.”