UFC President Dana White announced the WEC and UFC merger via a media conference call.
Featherweight and Bantamweight Divisions Now Featured in UFC
UFC President Dana White made official today that World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) will merge into the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), bringing its featherweight and bantamweight divisions into the UFC as a result. White also announced that the UFC has reached a new television deal with the VERSUS Network and will air four live cards during 2011.
“As the UFC continues to evolve and grow globally, we want to be able to give fans title fights in every weight division,” White said of the merger between the UFC and WEC. “This is a big day for the sport and the athletes who will have the opportunity to fight on the biggest stage in the world.”
With the absorption of WEC, featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who most regard as one of the best pound-for-pound Mixed Martial Artists in the world, is now officially part of the UFC and keeps his title as that weight division is launched. Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz also becomes the UFC titleholder in his respective weight class. One final piece of information regarding the transition of champions is regarding current WEC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson, who will be fighting Anthony Pettis on December 16th on VERSUS. The winner of that match will then fight the victor of a UFC 125 pairing between UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard in a lightweight title unification bout, which will take place in 2011.
"The way it works is you win fights, and you stick around. Or if you're incredibly exciting, you stick around for a while," White remarked on a media call today. "We're looking for great fighters and exciting fighters. If you're one of those, you're going to stick around."
VERSUS will air the final two WEC events before the conclusion of 2010, first with a show on November 11th in Las Vegas and then again on December 16th in Glendale, Arizona.
“We have a great relationship with the VERSUS network, and we look forward to working with them to give UFC fans even more free fights in 2011,” White concluded.
The November 11th event on VERSUS features fan favorite Urijah Faber making his debut as a bantamweight when he faces Takeya Mizugaki. The final WEC card on December 16th will have the Henderson-Pettis title fight, while also showcasing the first-ever UFC Bantamweight Championship when Cruz defends against Scott Jorgensen.