In the aftermath of WEC 47 last night WEC General Manager Reed Harris appeared hesitant to confirm that Joseph Benavidez would be the next in line for a title shot.
“I don’t know, there’s a lot of guys – there’s Banuelos, there’s Jorgensen, and that’s going to be up to Sean (Shelby – WEC Matchmaker),” Harris admitted to Sherdog’s TJ DeSantis.
Benavidez had just picked up the ‘Submission Of The Night’ award for his biggest win to date over the former bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres, but that may not be enough to secure his place across the cage from the newly crowned Dominick Cruz.
“We’re going to have to sit down and talk about this. Obviously Benavidez performance tonight would earn him a shot at the title, but they fought already, and I think Benavidez would probably like to fight someone else first and work back into that fight with Cruz…so we’ll have to wait and see.”
It appears that Benavidez is more enthusiastic about the chance to avenge his previous loss to Cruz than Harris however, noting at the press conference, “I’d love to go in there and avenge my only loss.”
Essentially I think the hesitation shown by Harris here is largely down to the unexpected outcome of both fights. Coming into this weekend’s event it was widely believed that both Brian Bowles and Miguel Torres would win their fights, setting up a title rematch between the two. In terms of generating interest that would have been the perfect outcome for the promotion.
Instead the division has now seen an overnight reshuffle and personally I think a Cruz Vs Benavidez rematch has now emerged as the most sensible option.
As for other options, Bowles hand injury should keep him out of the picture in the near future, ruling out an immediate rematch with Cruz. Meanwhile the decision to place Scott Jorgensen on the undercard against Chad George, which raised a few eyebrows leading into the event, may now be seen as an oversight since it would make it a somewhat awkward transition if he were to suddenly propelled to a title shot.
The other potential contender is Antonio Banuelos, but before he can even be considered though he has to navigate his way past Damacio Page in a bout that has now been confirmed for the WEC 48 pay per view event on April 24th.
Having set up last night’s main event and co-main event as something of a bantamweight showcase I think the WEC shouldn’t turn their back on the results, even if they didn’t turn out exactly as they might have hoped.
Watch the full interview with Reed Harris below: