Fashion in the fight game has never been more relevant than it is today. Some of the best are writing their legacies, many building their brand as style icons outside of the cage.
For Joseph Benavidez, it has been a long road dedicated to becoming a world champion. A task that would later turn into becoming the gatekeeper of the flyweight division. On the verge of his next shot at undisputed gold, it’s obvious he’s a world class fighter committed to greatness. However, he is also a dog dad who loves clothes, thrift shopping, and vibing to Alabama Shakes.
When it comes to fashion, Joe has studied the greats to craft his style, many in which have influenced him beyond the fight game. Although he has an innovative mind blended with one of the highest fight IQs in combat sports, when it comes to fashion, Joe admits he is simple. While not afraid to tap into feminine styles, simple looks go a long way for the UFC flyweight. Whether it’s heading to Target, media day for fight week, or heading to the gym, Joe likes to look good and dress for the mood. Even if that means changing outfits multiple times a day.
Although simple with his taste in clothes, evolving is always the goal, whether it be in fighting or fashion. Blend a bit of Kanye modern, the dapper ways of Elvis Presley, the hippy vibes from Bob Dylan, and the eccentric ways of David Bowie, you get a fighter not afraid of taking risks to look good.
Benavidez has been surrounded by art for over a decade now, competing in combat sports since the early 2000s. With the grind of training, his passion for clothes, and a business mind, Joe tries to better himself and those who have too chosen the life of a prizefighter. “We’re so much stronger as a unit,” said Benavidez, regarding fighters coming together to help each other grow outside of the fight game. Joe contributes by posting photos of mixed martial artists on his Dapper Scrappers account, highlighting their outfits for people to see their individuality outside of the sport.
Dapper Scrappers was created by Benavidez after wanting to showcase looks that caught his eye during fight week. “These guys didn’t dress up like this not to get their picture taken,” said Benavidez. The Instagram account was a way to showcase the people who wanted to be seen. It also helps Joe fight the stigma fighters carry daily.
“It’s super important for our sport [being seen as more than a fighter]. For everything. It’s so hard for a fighter to do that.”
Fighting may be one thing these athletes do, but there’s more to them. For Joe, he loves to see the different layers in fighters – when their interests stem beyond fighting. “Style is self expression, you can get to know a fighter or individual when you look at them,” said Joe. Because of this, he believes that Dapper Scrappers allows people to relate more to them by seeing how they dress.
Although fighters dressing their best for media day is becoming more of the norm, there are avenues UFC could take to help further push the professionalism of the sport in the public eye. They could also help fight the stigma in a way that still allows their athletes to dress how they want. Benavidez is aware that the current restrictions with the Reebok partnership may play a role, however, he also believes it’s because fighters want to be comfortable having to sit through interviews and appearances all day while cutting weight.
On fight night, the atheletes should be able to wear what they what. However, Joe feels a dress code for fight week could come in handy with all the new exposure the sport is getting. Currently, the UFC dress code is Reebok or no brand only. So most fighters would rather not deal with the hassle of packing or getting dressed. Nevertheless, Joe believes that it’s a fighter’s time to shine when in front of the media, “so why not look good?”
Many have been embracing the spotlight, most of them you will see showcased on a Dapper Scrappers post. Although Benavidez has had many offers to help elevate the brand and expand its reach, staying organic in the approach is the goal when considering the brand’s future. Whether it’s a TV show, clothing brand, a segment on ESPN, or a platform to style fighters, Joe knows that for Dapper Scrappers, the sky is the limit.
He may be one of the best to ever step foot in the Octagon, but for Benavidez, it’s more than just fighting. His legacy is no longer only about wins. It’s about developing a lasting footprint in both the fashion and fight game.
Photo Credit: Ryan Loco
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