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Gabriel Benitez Reloaded

UFC Lightweight Is Set To Make His Comeback Against Seasoned Veteran Jim Miller in a High-Stakes Showdown At UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs Walker 2.

UFC Lightweight Is Set To Make His Comeback Against Seasoned Veteran Jim Miller in a High-Stakes Showdown At UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs Walker 2.

Gabriel “Moggly” Benitez’s return to the Octagon is not just a comeback, but a strategic move, as he competes for the first time after a year-long layoff. His aim is clear: to propel his standing in the division by securing a win over the dangerous Jim Miller.

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The two were set to step into the Octagon in February 2023, but an injury to Benitez forced him out of the scrap. Now healthy and ready to get back in action, Benitez is pumped for fight week and the chance to redeem himself.

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“Right now, I feel so glad and grateful because [Jim Miller] gave me the chance again to fight with him, and I’m ready to fight,” Benitez said.

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The contest stands as one of Benitez’s biggest challenges yet, considering Miller’s form. The 40-year-old from New Jersey has won four of his last five bouts, all before the final horn. Yet for all Miller’s Octagon experience, the 35-year-old Benitez comes into the bout carrying nearly 10 years on the UFC roster himself.  At his best, Benitez has shown the potential to hang with the division’s best, but consistency has eluded him.

Bagging a win on Saturday night would be a big deal for Benitez, his first two-fight win streak in almost six years.

Gabriel Benitez Overwhelms Ontiveros With Ground And Pound | UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz
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Gabriel Benitez Overwhelms Ontiveros With Ground And Pound | UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz
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His last time out in August 2022, Benitez scored a statement victory over Charlie Ontiveros with a first-round KO at UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz, but this time around, fans can expect to see a transformed Benitez in the Octagon.

“I just tried to focus more on my nutrition because a bad cut means everything, and I focused a lot on my game plan, so it’s going to be fun,” Benitez said. “I prepared well, have good coaches, and have a good game plan, so I’m ready to win – that’s my mentality.”

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As the first card of 2024 unfolds, Benitez aims for an active year.

“I hope to fight frequently, not one or two fights a year,” Benitez adds. “I want like three or four. It just depends on if I have any serious injuries, but I hope not.”

Team Velasquez fighter Gabriel Benitez celebrates his victory over team Werdum fighter Diego Rivas in their preliminary fight during filming of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America on May 22, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)
Team Velasquez fighter Gabriel Benitez celebrates his victory over team Werdum fighter Diego Rivas in their preliminary fight during filming of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America on May 22, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (By Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa)

Looking beyond the Octagon, Benitez shared his thoughts on the UFC Performance Institute opening in Mexico City.

“In Mexico, we have a lot of talent right now, and the first TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) in Latin America opened the gates,” Benitez said. “I’m so grateful and I feel inspired because right now I know Mexico has a lot of good fighters and they just need one opportunity, so I’m glad we’ll have the PI in Mexico soon.”

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Benitez participated in The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 1, where he secured a submission victory over Diego Rivas in the quarterfinals, but later suffered a unanimous decision loss to Leonardo Morales in the semifinals.

Gabriel Benitez of Mexico reacts after his TKO victory over Charlie Ontiveros in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Pechanga Arena on August 13, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Gabriel Benitez of Mexico reacts after his TKO victory over Charlie Ontiveros in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Pechanga Arena on August 13, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Having demonstrated strong striking at a distance, Benitez has also displayed comfort on the ground, where he has previously pulled off submissions. But we have yet to see much of that ground action lately, so it will be interesting to watch where he attempts to take the fight.

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As the much-anticipated night approaches, the narrative surrounding Benitez goes beyond a simple comeback story. It’s a crucial opportunity for him to address his previous shortcomings, showcase consistency, and maybe grab a spot among the top fighters in the lightweight division.

“This Gabriel Benitez, this “Moggly,” is going to be reloaded,” he said. "It’s going to be exciting to watch.”

UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs Walker 2 took placelive from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on January 13, 2024. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!