Fans have been calling for a link-up between the UFC and it’s little brother, the WEC for some time now, and at the UFC Fan Expo this week both Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White gave the strongest indications yet that they are edging ever closer to making this a reality.
At this stage it doesn’t seem as if a full merger is going to happen right away, but reading between the lines it seems that we may be close to seeing the best of the WEC’s 155lb weight class engaging in battles with the best of the UFC’s lightweight division.
“We’d love to see kind of a ‘champion vs. champion’ type bout with Ben and Frankie Edgar or something like that,” Fertitta told fans at the Expo. “Ben Henderson is a great fighter, and I think he could do really, really well against some of the top guys in the UFC at 155lbs.”
Dana White was also hinting at something similar during his Q&A.
“There’s some interesting fights with those [WEC] guys, so we’re working on putting those fights together,” White said. “We’re working on a lot of things right now that we’ll be announcing in the next couple of months.”
It makes sense, current WEC champions like Jose Aldo (145lbs) and Ben Henderson (155lbs) deserve to be showcased to a wider audience and have the talent to put up a solid challenge with the best the UFC’s lightweight division has to offer.
I could certainly see this being used as the WEC’s next foray into the pay-per-view market and it would do wonders for the mainstream recognition of Zuffa’s lesser known promotion.
The catch comes if say Henderson defeats current UFC champion Frankie Edgar. I would imagine that he would then have to be promoted to the UFC. That’s a good thing in many respects, but it does weaken the WEC as a result.
Therefore if they do go through with this it seems as if it’s then only a matter of time before they will merge the two lightweight divisions under the one roof.