Earning wins in the UFC is certainly no easy task, but what comes next is often even more important: the post-fight callout.
So after Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 19 event in Tampa, Fla., who took advantage of their time on the mic? See below for this week’s Callout Collection – and just how realistic each one is.
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First up, let’s take a look at the night’s prelim winners.
Wants to fight: Joseph Benavidez
The callout: “The next one needs to be Benavidez. He was supposed to fight me last year. He thought I was afraid, but I was hurt and couldn’t take the fight. Now, I want Benavidez to pay for what he said. I want to knock him out so he can’t talk trash again, I want people to see that he is a liar. Why wouldn’t we do the interim belt now? Cejudo isn’t going to come back until the middle of next year – fight me for the interim belt now. I can go as soon as Benavidez wants; when is he ready? I am ready now. Next month, next year, whatever, I am ready. He can’t be scared after what he said. Now is the time to prove who is afraid of who. This is the fight business, not the talk business, so let’s fight.”
The reality: Benavidez (28-5 MMA, 15-3 UFC) is the quintessential perennial contender, a man that has remained at the top of the UFC flyweight ranking since their inception. Meanwhile, Deiveson Figueiredo (17-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) is an incredibly dangerous contender who came up short in a key spot against Jussier Formiga but has since bounced back with incredible performances against Tim Elliott and Alexandre Pantoja.
Dual-division champ Henry Cejudo is on the mend following surgery, but he’s made it clear he would prefer to fight at bantamweight upon his return rather than cut all the way down to 125 pounds. UFC president Dana White has made it equally understood that he wants to see Benavidez in a title fight next.
For me, with Cejudo’s future still uncertain, Benavidez vs. Figueiredo is the fight to make. At a minimum, make it for an interim belt. After all, Cejudo last defended the title in January 2019 and doesn’t seem ready to put on the line again until the summer of 2020.
But if “The Messenger” has decided 125 pounds is no longer for him, Benavidez vs. Figueiredo could just as easily serve as a very matchup for the undisputed title.
Wants to fight: Dhiego Lima
The callout: “I’d like to fight in January or February. Dhiego Lima is someone I’d like to fight, so that’s who I am asking for next.”
The reality: Alex Morono (17-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is about as respectful of an athlete as you’ll find in the UFC, so it comes as no surprise that his callouts generally amount to nothing more than a humble request. That said, Morono’s matchmaking skills aren’t bad.
Now training at Fortis MMA, Morono now owns an impressive three-fight winning streak following his win on Saturday. Lhima (15-7 MMA, 5-4 UFC) boasts a similar run, and he saw action just one week ago, picking up a victory over Luke Jumeau.
Neither man will oblige with trashtalk, but both can appreciate a good scrap. Makes sense to me.
Next up, let’s check out the main card.
- 5 biggest takeaways from UFC on ESPN+ 19: Jedrzejczyk's reminder, Waterson's heartbreak and more
- Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Joanna Jedrzejczyk after UFC on ESPN+ 19 win?
- Mike Perry wants Robbie Lawler at UFC 245, gives update on nose injury
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Callout Collection: Who UFC Tampa winners want next – and how likely they'll get them