by MMAWeekly.com Staff
The delay brought by WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner’s hand injury has created an opening.
Donald Cerrone, who was expected to take on the champion in a rematch from their January battle, will instead take on rising prospect Ben Henderson, likely for an interim lightweight belt, at WEC 43 in September. Henderson was booked as the challenger after early discussions named former contender Rich Crunkilton as the replacement.
Cerrone on Thursday confirmed the news to mmamania.com and Henderson announced it on his personal blog. While bouts agreements haven’t been signed, and details are still being worked out, both parties have agreed to the fight.
It would mark the first time the WEC has employed an interim title.
The event’s date and location are still undetermined, but Cincinnati has been named as a possible host.
Henderson last appeared at WEC 40, where he defeated Shane Roller by strikes in the second round. The 25-year-old Korean-American has won all but one of his nine professional appearances. He currently trains out of The Lab in Glendale, Ariz.
Cerrone lost his bid for the lightweight title in January when an illegal knee he threw brought a premature close to the WEC 38 bout. Varner’s lead in points ruled him the winner. The loss was his first in 12 professional bouts. The 26-year-old Colorado native bounced back at WEC 41 with a decimation of James Krause, submitting the newcomer in the first round.