|04-23-2008, 08:53 AM||#1|
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WEC fighters could be going to the UFC
WEC fighters could be headed to UFC
by Dann Stupp [mmajunkie] on Apr 22, 2008 at 7:49 am in - News -
Fighters from the Ultimate Fighting Championship's partner organization, World Extreme Cagefighting, could be headed to the UFC as the organization tries to further distinguish the two fight promotions.
According to a recap of Dana White's UFC 83 fan Q&A session provided by the Canadian Press, some of the WEC's middleweights and light heavyweights could be folded into the UFC.
"We're going to make the WEC the smaller weights and the UFC will be the heavier weights," White said. "We'll probably take some of the guys in the higher weights, the champions over there and bring them into UFC. We're still trying to figure that out."
The most intriguing options come from the WEC's middleweight division, which includes champion and world top-five middleweight Paulo Filho and top challenger Chael Sonnen. (In fact, Sonnen is listed on the UFC.com roster of fighters.)
The new blood could provide some instant contenders in the UFC's thin middleweight division. Currently, champion Anderson Silva has breezed through the competition, already defeating top contenders Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson.
There are some other options, such as Ricardo Almeida, Martin Kampmann, Thales Leites, Michael Bisping and Patrick Cote, but all are probably a few wins away from a title shot. None arguably have the starpower to carry a main-even fight -- not without a few more wins, anyway.
After his victory over Matt Serra to reclaim the UFC's welterweight title, Georges St. Pierre has been discussed ad nauseam as a potential opponent for Silva. While St. Pierre and Silva are both open to the idea, the UFC is unlikely to book the two fighters and sacrifice one of its champs unless all other options are exhausted -- or unless the mega-fight is used to promote an event in New York City or some other new host site.
Filho, who recently entered rehabilitation for an unspecified drug problem, would seem the logical choice for Silva's opponent, but the former training partners and friends say they're unwilling to fight each other. Still, Filho could be a solid opponent for Franklin or Henderson, world-class fighters and huge fan favorites who failed in recent title shots.
One WEC division that has struggled mightily since the UFC purchased the organization in December 2006 is light heavyweight. Long-reigning former champ Doug Marshall was never really promoted like other title-holders, and he recently lost the belt to Brian Stann, a marketable war veteran -- but a fighter with just six career fights. The WEC has struggled to find contenders.
Don't be surprised if that division is the first to go.
Regardless, White's recent comments should cool recent rumors that the UFC might fold the WEC completely. Although the organization has a deal with the Versus network, the WEC hasn't exactly been a major draw. A March 26 event in Las Vegas drew just 697 paid attendees for a meager gate of $107,150. However, the organization recently left Sin City for the first time post-Zuffa to go to New Mexico, and the WEC will head to Sacramento in June for a fight between WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver. It's expected to be Zuffa's biggest WEC event to date.
|04-23-2008, 02:54 PM||#4|
Join Date: Dec 2007
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I think they should build younger guys in the WEC. The WEC isn't as popular to start bringing in the more popular guys to WEC but I don't think taking guys out of the WEC and bringing them to UFC will help either. They need to build up future champions and hope that they will bring excitement. Sending some known guys from UFC to WEC could help but only ones that have been struggling in the UFC and want to start new and help the WEC. They just need some more advertising and some good promotions and I think they can get a good start
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