The merger between the UFC and the WEC will begin in December with several featherweights and bantamweights starting to pop up in the Octagon, but one division will be a melting pot between the two promotions.
The best of the best in the 155-pound division from both the UFC and WEC soon share a common home, and with current tallies in place, over 70 lightweights will fill the roster.
UFC president Dana White knows that the lightweight division has always been tough and is possibly the deepest weight class in the entire sport, and now the waters are even deeper.
“It’s fun, it’s going to be crazy, but that’s what makes for such great fights. It’s a fun division, I’m actually really excited about it,” White told MMAWeekly.com.
Beyond the mix of current UFC and WEC fighters, new and young talent continues to emerge such as Brazilian Edson Barboza, who did his best Jose Aldo impression on Saturday night at UFC 123, as he battered opponent Mike Lullo’s legs until he could not continue.
White definitely sees the talent in Barboza and other 155-pounders making their way to the UFC with each new event.
“There’s a lot of guys coming up that are really talented,” White commented about Barboza and the new lightweights in the UFC. “I think the pool’s just going to keep getting bigger, bigger, and bigger.”
The one thing that can’t be ignored, however, are the numbers that go along with a deep and talented lightweight division.
The UFC president said that the promotion plans on putting on somewhere around 30 to 31 fight cards in 2011, but still with over 70 fighters comprising one division, does that mean the lightweights are going to get thinned out at all?
“It’s a dog eat dog world,” said White. “There’s so many good guys out there. You’re literally fighting for your UFC life every time you fight.”
The influx of the WEC’s lightweights will begin soon, culminating with the winner of the upcoming title fight between Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis facing off with whoever the UFC lightweight champion is in 2011 for a unification bout.
Everyone else will be making their way to the UFC with something to prove, and Dana White along with the upper brass of the promotion will be watching very closely.