UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) president Dana White has announced a merger between the UFC and its sister promotion, WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting), which will take place in January 2011.
Zuffa, UFC's parent company, acquired WEC in December 2006 but continued running it as a separate entity, focusing solely on the sport's lighter weight classes and pioneering the 66kg featherweight and 61kg bantamweight divisions.
Now White's revealed that reigning WEC featherweight title holder José Aldo will become the inaugural UFC 66kg champion with immediate effect, with his first defence rumoured to be against Josh Grispi at UFC 125. Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will assume the inaugural UFC 61kg mantle if he defeats Scott Jorgensen at the WEC's final event – WEC 53 – on 16th December. It will also feature a lightweight title fight between reigning champion Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis.
The winner will fight the victor of the UFC lightweight title fight between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard [taking place on 1st January 2010] in a unification bout to establish an undisputed champion at 70kg.
'As the UFC continues to evolve and grow globally, we want to be able to give fans title fights in every weight division,' says White. 'This is a big day for the sport and the [lighter] athletes who will now have the opportunity to fight on the biggest stage in the world.'
Check out our new UFC workout series with British fighter Ross Pearson that starts in the January 2011 issue of Men's Fitness. You can subscribe to the mag here.
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