How Did The WEC Lightweights Pan Out in the UFC?

For a long time fans wondered how the lightweight fighters who fought under the banner of Zuffa owned WEC would do in the UFC.   WEC That question has since been answered.  The WEC closed up shop following WEC 53 in December of 2010.  In 2011 we started to see the WEC lightweights integrated into the UFC pool.  For years, I had the sentiment that the UFC lightweights were superior.  Now that those guys are well established in the UFC, how did they do?  By my count, 15 lightweights moved from the WEC to the UFC.  Combined they have a UFC record of 39-27-1.  It is obvious that they have more than held their own.  However, I am not sure that record tells the whole story.

Example A is obviously current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson.  Henderson has been impressive at lightweight.  He has beaten Clay Guida, Nate Diaz and Frankie Edgar (x2).  Some may not want to hear it, but Henderson is nearing the covnersation of the most decorated UFC lightweight champion ever.

Example B is Anthony Pettis.  Injuries have halted Pettis’ UFC rise, but it does not diminish his success.  Pettis entered the UFC with a guaranteed title shot as the last ever WEC lightweight champion.  That title shot failed to materialize.  Pettis subsequently lost to Clay Guida.  However, he has rebounded well with big wins and another guarnateed title shot.  However, this time the title shot appears to be against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.   Pettis is a top 5 lightweight who can be a force at 145.

Example C is Donald Cerrone.  Cerrone has been on the cusp of two UFC lightweight title shots.  While he hasn’t broken through to the top 5, he is a consensus top 10 lightweight in the world.  Cerrone has been the most active of the WEC transports, going 6-2 in the UFC.

Example D is Ricardo Lamas.  People forget that Lamas entered the UFC as a lightweight.  While he never competed in the UFC as a lightweight, he has proven himself as a world class fighter.  He is a top 3 featherweight and many people feel he is the best choice for Aldo’s next opponent.

There are more.  Danny Castillo has been an impressive 5-0 in the UFC.  Dustin Poierer has since dropped to 145 also, but he is 5-2 in his UFC career.  Anthony Njokuani and Jamie Varner have both had nice moments in the UFC as well.  Iuri Alcantara fought at 155 in the WEC and his since dropped two weight classes and is seen as a legit threat at 135 lbs.

The point is that the combined record does not do justice to the success of the WEC lightweights in the UFC.  They have more than held their own.  It goes to show that there are great fighters in other promotions who can compete at a world class level.   While Henderson, Cerrone, Pettis and company will always be WEC veterans, they are now just UFC fighters….and good ones at that.

Ben Henderson – 6-0

Anthony Pettis – 3-1

Donald Cerrone – 6-2

Jamie Varner – 2-1

Danny Castillo – 5-2

Anthony Njokuani – 2-3

Kamal Shalarous – 0-3 (Cut by UFC)

Shane Roller – 2-4 (Cut by UFC)

Tiequan Zhang – 1-3

Danny Downes – 0-2 (Cut by UFC)

Ricardo Lamas – 4-0 (Dropped to Featherweight)

Iuri Alcantara – 2-1-1 (Dropped to Bantamweight)

Dustin Poirer – 5-2 (Dropped to Featherweight)

Maciej Jewtuszko – 0-1 (Cut by UFC)

Bart Palaszewski  – 1-2 (Dropped to Featherweight)

Combined – 39-27-1


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