Dramatic battle awaits UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi
Joseph Benavidez (right) termed the February experience as 'traumatic' and Figueiredo a 'villain' he hated. (AFP)
Abu Dhabi - Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez, the Division No.1 and No.2, will clash inside the steel cage in a rematch for the vacant flyweight title
The UFC Fight Island could witness its most dramatic main card event in Abu Dhabi's Flash Forum on Sunday.
Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez, the Division No.1 and No.2, will clash inside the steel cage in a rematch for the vacant flyweight title.
And there is no love lost between the two. In February's title match, both the fighters were engaged in a well-matched encounter until a headbutt busted Benavidez wide open and Figueiredo landed vicious punches to take the bout.
However, since Figueiredo missed weights ahead of the bout, he could not claim the title and it remains vacant till date.
But there's no such issue now as Figueiredo and Benavidez both made weights on Friday.
"My weight is a lot better control than the last fight. I took a lot more strict diet than before just to make sure that I would travel at a lower weight and wouldn't have any issues during fight week," Figueiredo said.
"I did win the fight but couldn't get out of the octagon with the belt. But it's going to be different this time. My weight is a lot better than before. And the result (of the fight) is going to be the same. He doesn't deal very well with pressure, having to walk backwards and for sure I have to use that as my advantage for this fight again," the Brazilian said.
Two months back, Figueiredo tested positive for Covid-19. He recovered and tested negative in Abu Dhabi and completed a 48-hour quarantine.
"When I got this fight, I was just coming out of my symptoms. So training for the first few days wasn't the best. But it wasn't really long that I was feeling 100 per cent," the 32-year-old added.
Meanwhile, Benavidez termed the February experience as 'traumatic' and Figueiredo a 'villain' he hated.
"It (February fight) didn't go my way. It went in a weird way and then we went into quarantine. A lot of ways to get over a fight is getting into a gym. When you are preparing for the next thing, you worry about the next guy. I couldn't do that in quarantine. For a lot of people it is boring but for me to sit and sulk is traumatic. It was a challenge," he said.
Benavidez stressed he has nothing personal with Figueiredo.
"Just the fact that he's kind of like a villain to everybody I think. I definitely don't like him. That is rare for me. It's not personal because I don't really know him. I want to put this guy away and shut him up," the 35-year-old said.
The American remembered two fighters for whom he had similar feelings, and both he had floored in the cage.
"The only people I haven't liked and felt like I wanted to do that, the same similar way that I could compare was Miguel Torres back in the WEC. I ruined him. Then (former champion who vacated title in February) Henry Cejudo. I beat him and that was his last loss. It was a great fight as well. That's a pretty good track record for that feeling. It's not crazy emotional. It's just that you're actually fighting a guy that you don't like," he added.