When Zuffa merged the UFC and WEC promotions, it provided several interesting new opportunities for the fighters on its roster.
In addition to providing the exciting lighter weight fighters who competed under the WEC banner the stage and marketing they needed to become truly recognized for their talents, the merger gave UFC lightweights who were running out of options in the division a chance at reinvention in a previously unavailable lower weight class.
According to Kenny Florian, the growing trend of longtime UFC lightweight fighters like himself, Joe Stevenson and Tyson Griffin shedding some pounds to make a run for the title in a fresh division is also a boon to said division, by virtue of the name recognition that they have amongst casual fans.
“The reality is, a lot of people still don’t know who the WEC guys are.” Florian said during a recent appearance on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Beatdown show. “It’s crazy to me, these are phenomenal fighters and people don’t know who they are but with myself going to the division, Tyson Griffin, Joe Stevenson, it brings bigger names to the division and it brings more marketable fights that people want to see. People recognize these names. If you want to sell a fight between two guys coming up from the WEC, it’s going to be very difficult to do that. I think Urijah Faber might be the only guy who might be able to sell some pay-per-views right now.”
Florian is set to make his featherweight debut this weekend against Diego Nunes on the main card of UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin, which goes down at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.