WEC announced two title fights when they hit Arizona for the first time on Thursday, Dec. 16 at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. Glendale’s Ben Henderson will defend the lightweight crown against Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, while Tucson-born Dominick Cruz will defend the bantamweight title against Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen.
“Arizona deserved a card like this after winning the Amp Energy Hometown Takedown contest,” WEC General Manager Reed Harris said. “Fans in the Phoenix market voted for over two months and beat out 30 other cities to bring WEC to their area. Now, we are bringing fans two awesome title fights to Jobing.com Arena. Glendale’s Ben Henderson will face the stiffest test of his career in Anthony Pettis. Plus, Cruz-Jorgensen has the chance to be one of the greatest bantamweight title fights of all time. We cannot wait for this event in Glendale.”
Unbeaten in WEC at 5-0, Ben “Smooth” Henderson has become one of the most dominant champions in company history. With victories over Anthony Njokuani, Shane Roller, Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone (twice), the 26-year-old Henderson (12-1) has his sights set on beating the rising star Pettis on Dec. 16. Knowing that he’ll be defending the title on his home turf only further motivates the champion.
“I’m very excited to fight in front of my friends and family in Glendale,” Henderson said. “Pettis brings high-energy and good skill set to the table. He’s dynamic and tough, and he showed a lot of heart and grit by tapping out Shane Roller with a triangle in his last fight. If he wants it, let’s find out who the better man is on Dec. 16.”
Known for his fiery striking and fluid jiu jitsu skills, Anthony Pettis has taken the sport by storm since debuting in WEC last June. With four victories in the organization, including a submission win over Shane Roller in Aug., “Showtime” has become one of the most feared lightweights in the world. Pettis (12-1), who was featured on MTV’s hit show “World of Jenks” this month, is ready to capture his first world title and realize a lifelong dream.
“I love the matchup,” Pettis said. “Ben Henderson is at the top of the division and that’s where I want to be. He’s a well-rounded fighter who brings it every time. Neither of us quit so it’s going to be an interesting fight. I’m going to be ready for everything and anything.”
The most dynamic striker in 135-pound history returns for his second title defense on Dec. 16. Tucson-born Dominick Cruz, who has never lost a fight in the bantamweight division, locks horns with Scott Jorgensen in Arizona. The 25-year-old known for his fast feet and crisp striking plans on being ready for all that his wrestling-savvy opponent offers this December.
“He’s a strong, powerful guy with great wrestling ability,” Cruz, 16-1, said. “But his winning streak means nothing to me because I’m on a streak myself. He’s got a different matchup with me and I’m excited to put an end to his streak. I’ve got nothing but respect for the guy, he’s a great fighter, but I’m going to be better that night.”
With five straight victories, perhaps no fighter has more momentum than Scott Jorgensen. After defeating rugged Englishman Brad Pickett in a Fight of the Year candidate in Aug., the 27-year-old Boise State University wrestling standout finally cemented his place as number one contender in the bantamweight division. Now Jorgensen (11-3) has a chance to wear WEC gold, an opportunity he plans to take full advantage of come Dec. 16.
“I’m going to beat him down for 25 minutes,” Jorgensen said. “I want to fight for five rounds because I’m a grinder, that’s what I do. That’s a scary thing for Dominick to face. He’s never had an opponent that is built like me and has the mindset that I’ve got. He’s in for a rude awakening when he gets in that cage with me. He’s never felt the pressure that I’m going to bring.”
Remaining bouts for WEC: Henderson vs. Pettis will be announced at a later date.