UFC 156’s stacked Super Bowl weekend card will play host to another top flyweight contest between Ian McCall (11-3-1, MMA) and Joseph Benavidez (16-3, MMA). McCall joined MMA Fight Corner on Tuesday and said this time he plans to make a statement for himself in the division.
“I gotta go out there and put on a good show. Obviously get a big win and do it in dominating fashion, just stay relevant. This sport changes hands quickly. There’s new people all the time and I need to make sure I stay on top of the heap.”
Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall last fought as a competitor in the UFC’s inaugural Flyweight tournament where the last two men standing would fight for the title. McCall faced Demetrious Johnson twice being that their first fight was scored incorrectly and they had to meet again. Johnson came out ahead in the second battle and went on to become the first UFC Flyweight Champion.
McCall was slated to face UFC newcomer John Moraga in June, but suffered from an injury that prevented him from fighting. Since then, McCall has fallen on hard times. He recently announced that he’s going through a divorce which has been difficult for him leading into his next fight against Benavidez this weekend at UFC 156.
Although McCall addressed the matter and explained that his mental approach is fine coming into the fight. “I moved out of my house, living with Corey, just focused on nothing but the fight. It’s really paid off. Everything’s clear and ready for this. I got my footwork back, my speed, my power all my stuff is there. My mental focus is a big part of it.”
McCall later added that through it all his gym has been his “happy place”. “I guess we’re just better off being best friends than being married,” he said of his wife. “And it sucks I’m not going to lie, it’s rough but it’s not taking away, it won’t take away from my performance.”
Through all the ups and downs, McCall still sees himself as a top contender and one that will rise to the challenge given any circumstance. This time he doesn’t think cutting weight will be as big an issue as it was in his last fight against Demetrious. He landed in Vegas weighing 139 and the cut to 125 won’t be half as severe as it was last time where he cut nearly 19 pounds on weigh-in day.
With the Flyweight division also garnering some respect among fans, McCall made sure to credit the man that’s striven to gain it. “Demetrious changed the outlook. He really did. I didn’t think he was gonna be the guy to do it. But he did a freaking great job on Saturday he really, really did good and he looked awesome. Not impossible to beat obviously, but he did what he did best and he put on a show and I think that over 5 million people were watching him,” McCall said. “I gotta say thank you ’cause before he always was boring. Boring I guess to the average fan, not to me, I thought it was awesome. I mean it was exciting being in there with him getting punched in the face. But he really, really put a stamp on the weight class on Saturday and I think it’s the perfect opportunity for me and Joe to come in and put another stamp on it.”
McCall also said he’s focused in and changed a few things since Johnson lost and is ready to go. Come Saturday, he’s looking forward to a stand up war against Benavidez. If he can get past Benavidez, McCall’s hoping for the opportunity to fight Johnson again.
“I have to go out and impress. I gotta knock Joe out. I have to really put on a good show. I have to really take a hold of this to get the shot. And if they don’t grant me a title shot right away that’s fine, I’m not afraid of hard work and getting back in there and fighting a few more time this year before I do get a title shot.”
UFC 156’s main event is a featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. McCall vs Benavidez is also a part of the main card pay-per-view event on February 2nd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.