Sports

Henderson will fight for UFC title if he wins Dec. 16

Decatur graduate Ben Henderson will defend his WEC lightweight world title against Anthony Pettis on Dec. 16 in Arizona.  - Lance Giles/For the Mirror
Decatur graduate Ben Henderson will defend his WEC lightweight world title against Anthony Pettis on Dec. 16 in Arizona.
— image credit: Lance Giles/For the Mirror

Decatur High School graduate Ben Henderson’s Dec. 16 World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) title match against Anthony Pettis at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., took on a little more importance Thursday.

In a media conference call, Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White announced the WEC is merging with the UFC, the largest and most popular mixed martial arts company in the world.

White also confirmed that the winner of the Dec. 16 WEC lightweight title fight between Henderson, the current champion, and top contender Pettis will take on the winner of the UFC 125 main event title bout between UFC champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. This upcoming fight will serve as a UFC lightweight title unification bout to be held next year.

The UFC is adding two new championship divisions at bantamweight (135 pounds) and featherweight (145), while also announcing a new television deal with the VERSUS Network to air four UFC fights in 2011. The Henderson-Pettis fight will also be on VERSUS.

The two new divisions feature WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who will now be recognized as the reigning UFC featherweight champion, and WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.

“As the UFC continues to evolve and grow globally, we want to be able to give fans title fights in every weight division,” said White. “This is a big day for the sport and the athletes who will have the opportunity to fight on the biggest stage in the world.”

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