Benny Urquidez was kickboxing’s most fearless gladiator. With his incredible speed, power and energy, he could go to any country on earth, fight anybody he was paired up with according to their rules — and beat the living daylights out of them.
In front of sell-out crowds, Benny Urquidez, in true terminator fashion, would blast opponent after opponent into oblivion. What is so amazing is that he did this 58 times without losing. It’s not surprising that he was named Black Belt’s 1978 Competitor of the Year.
The Jet’s Arsenal
Benny “The Jet” Urquidez’s arsenal of techniques was something to write home about, and his physical conditioning was second to none. His regimen included working all his techniques in addition to a host of back-breaking drills. For example, he would do 15 three-minute rounds of offensive and defensive moves, going full speed with only 30-second rest periods.
Urquidez would fight on the inside or on the outside, and he would attack or defend off the triangle. He would use the jab, hook, cross, uppercut and overhand punches, along with the spinning backfist. He would fight left-side forward, and it took years for the opposition to realize that he was naturally left-handed. He could fight southpaw equally well and would sometimes switch from side to side just to confuse his opponent.
Benny Urquidez was as good at throwing lead-leg kicks as he was at executing power kicks off his rear leg. He had the nastiest spinning back kick of any professional kickboxer, and he could successfully use the jump spinning back kick. “I was known for the spinning back kick because very few people liked to do it,” Urquidez says. “But I also tore people up with [ball-of-the-foot] kicks, roundhouse kicks, side kicks, ax kicks and wheel kicks. What sticks out in people’s minds is what nobody else does.”
All these techniques, along with muay Thai-style leg whips and elbow and knee strikes, made it impossible for Benny Urquidez’s opponents to plan an effective strategy against him. They tried, but not a single one could do it.
Fighting Different-Size Opponents
“To be able to effectively fight different-size opponents, you have to work hard at becoming a well-rounded fighter,” Benny Urquidez says. “This means you have to have a lot of weapons available, you have to have a good defense, and you have to be hungry.
With 49 knockouts and world-championship titles in the lightweight, super-lightweight and welterweight divisions, Benny Urquidez proved he could use that strategy to become the best of the best. Along the way, he had convincing victories over opponents of all sizes. The following are some more of his secrets.
An opponent who is shorter than you has a mission: He wants to get inside your reach, Benny Urquidez says. He will try to get in and do some damage, then retreat without getting hit. Because he will probably rely on speed and move around a lot, he will need the whole ring — or at least a good portion of it — to be effective. His biggest advantage is that when you start running from him and he gets you cornered, you are put on the defensive. That means you have fewer options and fewer chances to use your longer reach.
To defeat a shorter opponent, Urquidez advises you to start by taking away his best weapons. When he tries to get inside and throw a jab, counter it. If he throws a cross, counter that. If he throws a jab-cross combination, counter both punches. And make sure your counters always carry a heavy impact. Your opponent will become gun-shy because every time he throws a punch, he gets hit with a hard counter. This will take away his confidence and his best weapons, Urquidez says.
The next step is to serve the opponent with an eviction notice, Benny Urquidez says. “It says, ‘The center of the ring belongs to me.’”
The opponent must stay out of the center or go toe-to-toe with you. Since he has already had a taste of your blows, he will probably start to run. Running may work for a while, but eventually he will find himself trapped in a corner. When that happens, capitalize on his mistakes. If he tries to dart inside, pound him with hooks, crosses and body welds. If he tries to slip by the ropes, hit him with punishing kicks and follow-up punches.
If he stays where he is, wait until he makes a major mistake or until you catch him “gazing” (a term used by fighters to describe an opponent who is looking at them but whose mind is somewhere else), then overwhelm him with kicks and punches. This can be a perfect chance for you to blast him with a jump …