UFC-WEC Merger Round-Up: Aldo vs Grispi in January, Quotes from Reed Harris, Ben Henderson and Frankie EdgarPosted on October 30, 2010, 12:07 PM by Anton Gurevich
UFC President Dana White announced on Thursday that WEC and UFC will merge in December, with the first event taking place sometime in January. WEC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo was immediately named as the one who will rally the troops in January, as the LowKick.com favorite Josh Grispi now seems to be his potential opponent.
According to Ariel Helwani, Roy Nelson was removed from the UFC 125: Resolution fight card, as no legit replacement was found after Shane Carwin pulling out. Instead, Jose Aldo will make his debut under the UFC banner against the 14-1 Josh Grispi, who will not face Erik Koch at WEC 52 (November 11th).
Another Jose Aldo's potential opponent, UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar, told MMADiehards.com he doesn't mind moving down to Featherweight for a fight against "Junior":
"[Aldo's] running through people in the (1)45 division. A fight with him would be huge. It would be a guy my size. He’d be a very dangerous opponent. (A cut to) (1)45 wouldn’t be too hard for me. I wouldn’t be surprised if Aldo cuts more than I do."
Earlier, WEC CEO Reed Harris shared his thoughts on merging with the UFC, declaring himself "proud" with the move. Here's what he had to say, speaking via MMA Weekly:
"To be honest, today, I'm really proud of what we did, man. And Dana's proud of what we did. We were so successful that the UFC had no other option than to bring these guys in and put them in their show," he said.
"The UFC is obviously by miles the largest MMA organization in the world. The WEC built these divisions to a point where they are now going to be featured on the largest stage in MMA. Dana and Lorenzo and Frank are obviously extremely happy about what we were doing. This was a huge success."
Harris took on the role of general manager of the WEC after Zuffa's purchase. That job will now cease to exist, but Harris will emerge through all of this with a new role in the UFC once they close the WEC's doors.
"I could talk about it, I just don't want to yet," he said of his new position. "I want to focus on the WEC until the end of the year and keep the focus on these fights. The importance of these fights is magnified exponentially."
WEC Lightweight Champion "Smooth" Ben Henderson will square off against Anthony Pettis at WEC 53 (last WEC event) on December 16th. The winner of this fight will face the winner of the Edgar vs Maynard bout, for the unification of WEC and the UFC titles. Here's what "Smooth" had to say about his future UFC advenutre:
"Come January, we're going to find out how WEC guys stack up against the UFC guys and my prediction is we're going to do very well. There's a chip on our shoulders. There always has been us WEC guys not getting the notoriety and same respect as the UFC guys. Not from our peers, not from other fighters, but from fans and media. They saw a difference between WEC guys and UFC guys. Now we'll show it. You better believe every WEC guy who steps in the cage against a UFC guy, they're going to fight their butt off. I am definitely looking forward to the pay increase. I'm going to move out of my apartment, buy a house and make sure I save enough to pay my taxes. It's cool. It's not the only factor, but it's a big factor for us WEC guys"