The 10 Best Fights in WEC History

Mitch Ciccarelli of breaks down the top 10 best fights in WEC history.

10. Chris Leben vs. Mike Swick: WEC 9 (1/16/2004)
One year prior to becoming household names on the original cast of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Chris Leben and Mike Swick went to war in this WEC classic. At the time, the WEC wasn’t owned by Zuffa. The sport itself was struggling for mainstream acceptance.
After an action-packed first round, these two strikers stood in the pocket and traded punches until Leben dropped Swick with a thunderous left hand to become the first WEC middleweight champion. Leben would then vacate the belt to take part in the very first TUF and the rest is history.

9. Mike Brown vs. Urijah Faber: WEC 36 (11/5/2008)
“The California Kid” Urijah Faber was (and still is) the face of the WEC. When Zuffa purchased the organization in 2006, Faber was their most marketable asset and also a dominant champion at 145 lbs.
With five consecutive title defenses under his belt, Faber was considered as close to untouchable as one could get. But his invincible mystique would come to an end at the hands of Mike Brown, who not only defeated Faber, but knocked him out in the very first round to claim the featherweight championship.

Check out the rest of the top 10.

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Interview with WEC 52 Main Event Fighter Urijah Faber

Urijah Faber is mixing things up.

The decorated former WEC featherweight champion is making the move down to bantamweight, beginning tonight with his main event bout at WEC 52 against Takeya Mizugaki from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

I had a chance to catch up with the MMA legend as he gears up for Mizugaki.

During the interview Faber discusses his change in weight, the WEC/UFC merger, and what’s in his future. Enjoy.

The Scores Report: Well Urijah, it is fight week, how are you feeling?

Urijah Faber: I feel great. I am just working on getting my weight down. I am within striking distance now. I am walking around about 7 or 8 pounds over. (Faber weighed in at 136 pounds for his 135-pound fight on Wednesday night).

TSR: What has the weight cut been like? You have been fighting at featherweight for a while now and really haven’t had a strenuous cut as you have for this fight.

UF: It’s going better. My body feels great. I have been doing the cut steadily over the last few months. It has kind of been the opposite for me because before I was doing what I could to keep food in and stay heavy and now I am trying to eat lighter and lose weight. Initially the weight was easy to lose but the closer you get to 135, the harder the pounds are to shed. When I went through the practice cut, the last few pounds were pretty tough.

TSR: Do you notice anything different with your abilities at this lighter weight?

UF: I feel like my grappling is at a whole new level. When I competed in wrestling I always competed at 133 pounds, so being at this weight to fight, I feel like my skills are where I need them to be. I feel like I have great conditioning already and I feel faster and even stronger.

TSR: This fight with Mizugaki was originally scheduled for WEC 50 back in August but you had to pull out with a knee injury. Have you fully recovered from that injury?

UF: Yeah. My health is great and I am 100 percent. I have made a full recovery. It took about six weeks and even when I was recovering, I could still train and just not use the injured leg, so I was able to stay in great shape.

TSR: Give me your thoughts on your opponent. What do you feel he does well?

UF: His strength is his stand up. He has good hands and he has god takedown defense and submission defense. He has a couple decent takedowns too. The guy has a ton of heart too and he is not an easy guy to get past, but I think I have better all-around skills and will be comfortable wherever the fight goes.

TSR: The UFC recently announced it would be absorbing the WEC and its roster in 2011. What do you think of that decision and where were you when you heard the news?

UF: I basically got a call from manager at MMA INC. Had all us guys from Team Alpha Male on a conference call and told us what was going on. We were all stoked. We all went to practice that day on cloud nine. The implications for exposure and notoriety and pay all go up so much by becoming part of the UFC.

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Benavidez talks Fabiano, Faber

Joseph Benavidez discussed his upcoming fight with Wagney Fabiano, as well as teammate Urijah Faber’s drop to the bantamweight division with Nate Lawson of

Following his disappointing, yet narrow split-decision loss to Dominick Cruz at WEC 50, Joseph Benavidez was looking to take some time off.

The 135lbs contender had just faced the top bantamweight on the planet, former champion Miguel Torres, and submission ace Rani Yahya all within one year. You could say he deserved a break.

However, when the WEC came calling for the Team Alpha male product to step in for former champion Brian Bowles against Wagnney Fabiano at this month’s WEC 52, Benavidez did not have to think long about cutting his time away from the cage short.

“When the fight came up with Wagnney Fabiano, it was kind of a no brainer,” Benavidez told HeavyMMA today. “I was definitely looking to fight before the end of the year. You know, definitely wanted to get in that third fight of the year. I had already taken some time off, and it’s kind of hard man. I’m just a fighter and when someone offers me a fight, it’s always something I want to do. I’m always training and it always feels like the right decision for me.”

Read the entire article.

Fabar the key to Bantamweight success in UFC?

That’s what Jeremy Botter of writes:

Next Thursday night, long-time WEC poster boy Urijah Faber will make his bantamweight debut against Takeya Mizugaki.

If “The California Kid” comes away with a win, he’ll make an even more important debut in early 2011.
By beating Mizugaki, Faber would set up a second meeting current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. The two met a handful of years ago when Cruz challenged for Faber’s featherweight title; the loss remains the sole blemish on the current champion’s resume. With all due respect to Cruz, Faber is the 135-pound fighter who holds the key to solidifying the WEC divisions as viable pieces of the puzzle.

Faber is one of the few stars to crossover from the WEC who have the pre-established stardom to help deliver the lighter weight-classes to the new audience in the UFC. The leader of Team Alpha Male is already a known quantity in the business, and while he’s lost three of his last five fights, the move down to the 135-pound division could be the kind of career renaissance that return Faber to the pound-for-pound rankings he called home for quite some time.

Read the full article.

WEC to merge with UFC

Dana White during the press conference for the Ultimate Fighting Championship 109 event at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on February 4, 2010.

Jeremy Botter of fills everybody in on the big news out of the Mixed Martial Arts world today:

The long-awaited merger between the Ultimate Fighting Championship and younger sibling World Extreme Cagefighting has finally come to fruition.

UFC President Dana White made the announcement during a media conference call on Thursday.

The final two WEC events will be held in November and December. After the final event, the WEC lightweight division will roll into the UFC’s version of the weight class, while the other weight classes will be known as the UFC featherweight and UFC bantamweight championships.

“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.”

Read the full article.

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