Ryan (Babyface) Benoit
Professional UFC Fighter
Eagle Moon Hemp Fight Team
Ryan Michale Benoit is an American-born mixed martial arts fighter currently competing in the Flyweight division of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). Benoit began his professional MMA career in 2009. He has competed in Shark Fights, Legacy FC (Fighting Alliance), the MFA (Maximum Fighting Championship), and more. As of December, 2019, Benoit was #15 in the UFC flyweight rankings.
Ryan ‘Babyface’ Benoit was born in San Diego. His father was a Senior Chief in the navy. He has one older brother. When he was four the family moved to Deep Creek, Virginia, then moved again when he was fourteen to McKinney, Texas.
Benoit’s earliest ambition was to be a shortstop for the Yankees. He attended McKinney North High School where, at sixteen, he saw Chuck Liddell and his exciting strike style. Benoit soon found himself in a mixed martial arts gym, where he fell in love with muay thai / striking. Liddell’s moves provided highlight reel KOs, and inspired Benoit to be a UFC fighter.
Benoit wrestled in High School and was three times All State. He continued to wrestle at Menlo College, where he ultimately decided to leave college and train at Saekson Janjira Muay Thai Gym in Plano
After only a few years of training and competition, Benoit had put together a 7-2 pro MMA record, with six victories by way of KO. His style and finish rate caught the attention of the UFC. Benoit made his promotional debut in 2013, and despite a loss, this first fight resulted in ‘fight of the night’ honors.
MMA Early Career
In May of 2009, Benoit defeated LeJerrian Lindley by TKO at Xtreme Knockout 4. In August came another win by TKO, this time against Davis Sylvester at KOK 7 (King of Kings). Benoit’s first loss was by unanimous decision against Tim Snyder in June of 2020.
Benoit’s next four fights were all victories. In Shark Fights 14, he defeated Matt Esponoza by TKO in March of 2011. A year later, in May of 2012, he beat Cody Williams by submission at Legacy FC 11. Three months later, another TKO against Randy Villarreal at Legacy FC 13. Finally, his fourth victory in a row, was against Joseph Sandoval in December, by yet another TKO.
Benoit’s last two matches before the UFC were 1-1. In May of 2013 he lost to Anthony Birchak by unanimous decision at MFC 37. Then he wrapped up his pre-UFC career by defeating Cody Fuller by TKO in October.
- Benoit’s debut in the UFC was a loss, by submission, against Josh Sampo in November of 2013. Despite losing, Benoit was awarded a Fight of the Night bonus.
- After losing time to an injury, Benoit returned to battle at UFC 185, where he defeated Sergio Pettis by TKO in March of 2015.
- In November, at UFC 193, Benoit lost to Ben Nguyen via submission in the first round.
- His next fight, in July 2016 at UFC 201, was a victory by split decision against Fred Serrano. In December Benoit lost, by split decision, against Brandon Moreno at UFC 24 Finale.
- In November 2017, Benoit faced Ashkan Mokhtarian at UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Tybura. At weight-in, Benoit was 129lb, three pounds over the flyweight limit. The went on at a catchweight with Benoit forfeiting 20% of his purse to Mokhtarian. Benoit won the fight by KO in the third round.
- In December of 2019 Benoit fought Alateng Heili in a bantamweight bout at UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Korean Zombie, losing the fight by split decision.
- In July of 2020, at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Ige, Benoit lost via unanimous decision to Tim Elliott.
Benoit met his long-term girlfriend, Marilyn Gomez, while they were both practicing Muay Thai boxing. The couple was married February fifth, 2013.
In his free time, Benoit likes to enjoy the outdoors by going hiking, camping, and fishing. He also likes to spend as much time as possible with his wife and two daughters.
As for inspiration, Benoit points to his parents and wrestling coaches, who drove him and inspired him to be his best.
Benoit is a Purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Vinicius Garcia, Diego Santana, Garry Tonon, John Danaher, and Ricky Lundell.
Benoit’s first job was at Ben And Jerry’s, scooping ice cream. His favorite flavor is chocolate chunk.
MMA and Injuries
The sports world understands when an NBA or NFL player turns an ankle that, when they return, there will be a time of adjustment. After all, they have been unable to train and practice for weeks or even months. They will need to regain their strength as well as get back into the rhythm of the game.
All too often, this kind of consideration is not made for MMA athletes, who don’t have the same number of coaches and therapists around them to get them ready to fight and back in the ring.
Benoit describes how the injuries he’s sustained, and the time off it has forced him to take, has led to a “rollercoaster, why I’ve had such a win-loss, win-loss, win-loss since 2012.”
In a way, it’s like having to start from the beginning, Benoit describes, “It’s never an easy process to get in as tip-top shape as possible, be in the best shape of my life, and then get injured. You’re going from being the most active human being you possibly can be to having to do nothing, and then you have to start over from there. You have to get back into shape. You have to get used to getting punched again. You have to get used to sparring again. You have to get used to doing jiu-jitsu and get back to your drills and your routines again.”