As you all know by now the WEC has officially decided to stop promoting their LHW and MW divisions. I actually spoke on this a few weeks back, and I still agree with what I wrote back then for the most part. As of right now we still don't know exactly which fighters will be kept/cut from the WEC roster at LHW/MW. As it stands right now there are only a handful of fighters that are worth keeping in my personal opinion.
- Mark Munoz(LHW)-He's a relatively young fighter at this point so no use in feeding him to the wolves of the stacked LHW division. He is an undefeated fighter with Filipino heritage and would be very valuable to Zuffa as they tread to the Philippines to host shows next year.
- Brian Stann(LHW)-Most people know his story as a military guy and they are already using that as a promotional tool. Stann will be fighting on the Ultimate Fight Night: Fort Bragg Military event. Honestly he looked like shit in his last fight losing to Steve Cantwell. I don't ever see Stann being a top tier fighter honestly. However, his name and semi-marketability is worth keeping him from other organizations competing against Zuffa.
- Steve Cantwell(LHW)-The current WEC LHW champ(not that it holds much weight) he does only have one loss which he avenged against Stann. Cantwell is only 22 years old and has shown decent striking and the ability to submit his opponents...he has a 100% finishing rate in his 6 wins.
- Paulo Filho(MW)-The current WEC MW champion and a fighter whom is undefeated...the current MMA4Real #2 MW in the world. However, Filho has definitely looked beatable in his last 2 fights...but would add some much needed depth to the UFC MW division. He and Anderson Silva have both stated they would not fight one another. I don't even think it will come to that...I'll go against the grain and say that I believe Filho would lose to Nathan Marquardt or Rich Franklin(if he came back to MW)
- Chael Sonnen(MW)- Already a UFC veteran going 1-2 in the promotion. Is a very game fighter that gave Filho all he could handle before succumbing to an armbar in their last meeting. Sonnen would also add some depth to the UFC MW divison.
There's not much left in either division after you scoop up these 5 fighters. My suggestion would be to drop the rest of the fighters so that they could fight elsewhere and continue to make a living. Because frankly they would not be very competitive in the UFC at the present time. Promotions like Affliction and EliteXC are in desperate need of deeper rosters as well as money to pay them. So we'll see how that works out. However, with Zuffa releasing the remaining fighters(LHW/MW) that would free up additional monies to add depth to the WEC WW, LW, FW, and BW divisions. Because fighters like Carlos Condit, Urijah Faber, and Miguel Torres have pretty much cleaned out their divisions at this point.
Another option would be to take a group of 'name' fighters from the UFC and add them to the WEC. Initially, Zuffa said they would keep both organizations running separately. However, with the merger of these two divisions I think it's plausible now. Fighters like Karo Parisyan, Hermes Franca, Tyson Griffin, Frankie Edgar, Marcus Davis, Akihiro Gono, and Corey Hill would add much needed depth to the WEC roster.
So all in all, the winners from this divisional merger are obviously Zuffa first and foremost. They add some depth to the UFC MW division and a couple of fighters they can use as they expand to do shows in other countries. As well as confirm their claim that the WEC is home to the best lightweight fighters in the world. However, other competing organizations could possibly gain from this merger if they decide to acquire any of these fighters that could possibly be dropped by Zuffa.