As UFC President Dana White announced today that the WEC will merge its bantamweight, featherweight, and lightweight classes into the UFC in 2011, he also confirmed that the winner of the upcoming WEC 155 title bout between Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis will get a shot at the winner of the UFC title bout between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard at UFC 125.
As we previously reported, MMAFighting broke the news of the UFC-WEC merger. During a media call, White confirmed that Jose Aldo will now be recognized as the UFC featherweight champion and defend his title — with an opponent not yet determined — at UFC 125. Current bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz will earn the same honors if he beats Scott Jorgenson at WEC 53 on Dec. 16, the same card featuring Henderson vs. Pettis.
The idea of a merger has come up before, but White said that the UFC’s expansion into other global markets means they now plan to hold enough events to utilize the WEC fight roster. Ultimately, the UFC will incorporate every weight class, White said, though he ruled out the possibility of a super-heavyweight/unlimited class.
As part of the deal, the UFC will televise four events on Versus during 2011. Asked what will happen when the UFC’s Spike TV deal runs out, White said he was unsure.
The merger could also mean bigger paydays for the fighters currently under the WEC banner. When asked whether WEC fighters could get paid more fighting for the UFC, White replied, “I assume so.”