Harris Eager to Crown First UFC Bantamweight Champ


Reed Harris: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com


With Jose Aldo having already been crowned the inaugural UFC featherweight champion, World Extreme Cagefighting has just two titles left to sort out before seeing its 135-, 145- and 155-pound divisions rolled into the world’s biggest MMA organization.

On Dec. 16, WEC will end its nine-year, 53-show run at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz. Both of the promotion’s remaining titles will be on the line, as bantamweight ace Dominick Cruz takes on top contender Scott Jorgensen, and lightweight champ Benson Henderson faces Anthony Pettis.

“Obviously, the implications of the Henderson-Pettis fight are just huge,” WEC General Manager Reed Harris said during a Tuesday conference call. “Those guys are gonna be fighting for the title in the UFC, depending on who takes the fight. So it has huge implications, and I think that everybody in the industry is gonna be watching.”

The winner of Henderson and Pettis’ affair will get the chance to unify his WEC title with the UFC’s 155-pound strap sometime in 2011, when he’ll meet the winner of Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard’s Jan. 1 showdown. This makes next Thursday’s fight hugely important, no doubt, but the title bout 20 pounds down the scale may carry a little extra cache, thanks to a certain piece of hardware.

“I think the really special thing will be at the end of the night, when I slap a UFC belt on either Dominick or Scotty Jorgensen,” said Harris. “That’s gonna be huge for us. We’ve got a belt coming on the truck for the guys, a UFC belt, and we’re really looking forward to that.”

Cruz and Jorgensen ought to be clearing some room in their trophy cases, as the winner will leave with both the WEC and UFC belts.

“They’ll be the forever holder of that title in the WEC, and then also they’ll be the new UFC bantamweight champion at the end of that fight,” Harris explained.

So, did Aldo get to hang on to his WEC belt as well?

“Yes, he did. I asked him for it back, but he said ‘no.’”

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