Earlier this week UFC president Dana White revealed in an interview with USA Today his desire to possibly combine the 155lbs. classes of the WEC and UFC together under the UFC banner. The merging of lightweight classes is not guaranteed and would only come about after the addition of more weight classes under the 135lbs. mark to the WEC. That means that, at least for now, any talk of a WEC-UFC lightweight merger is only speculation.
Still, it is interesting to wonder how the WEC’s top lightweights would fare in the deep waters of the UFC’s lightweight division and how they would feel about taking that plunge. During the WEC 48 media conference call that took place earlier this week, MMAFighting.com asked the WEC’s two top lightweights, champion Benson Henderson and number one contender Donald Cerrone, how they would react to being transplanted into the UFC.
“I’m comfortable with where [the WEC lightweight class] is right now, but if it does plan on going to the UFC and merge one day, awesome,” said Cerrone. “It would be a dream to fight the BJ Penns, the Frankie Edgars, and the Joe Daddys out there so, all to be under one big family would be great. Fighting for the WEC I love, fighting for the UFC I’d love even more, so it’d be a great honor for us all to be on the same level, I think.”
Henderson shared a similar excitement at the prospect of competing in the UFC.
“Fighting for the WEC, fighting for the UFC, both owned by Zuffa,” Henderson said. “They do a great job and they treat you well, with respect. None of the horror stories you hear from Strikeforce: Guys walking into the lobby and Strikeforce employees (are) there and not shaking their hands, not meeting them. Zuffa is way different. (They) take care of their fighters. If it did happen, if it did go through, I would love to test myself against some of those guys. I am all for it 100%. I want to be the best in the planet and to do that I have to fight the best on the planet.”
While they are both apparently happy competing in the WEC it is obvious that they would relish the chance to compete on Mixed Martial Arts’ biggest stage, the UFC. It should come as no surprise either. Competing in the UFC would increase their pay, their exposure to fans, and likely the level of competition they would face; all things desirable to a prize fighter.
We do not know yet when, or if, we will see Henderson, Cerrone or the other WEC lightweights within the UFC’s slightly larger eight-sided cage. What we do know is that we can watch Henderson and Cerrone attempt to repeat their fight of the year performance this weekend at WEC 48. The two men will meet for the second time to dispute the WEC lightweight championship in the co-main event of the evening.