The End of an Era: The 5 Best Fighters In WEC History

Vince Carey@@vcareymmaContributor IOctober 30, 2010

The End of an Era: The 5 Best Fighters In WEC History

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    On Oct. 28, 2010, the WEC was pronounced dead by UFC president Dana White.

    The lighter weight classes that have made the WEC one of the most entertaining things on television will be moved to the UFC, giving these former “minor league” fighters the exposure (and paychecks) they deserve.  

    Now that the organization that has been has officially been shut down, I thought that now would be a good time to honor the best fighters that the WEC has given us over the years. Here are the five best fighters in WEC history.

5. Jamie Varner

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    Varner entered the WEC with a couple of UFC fights already on his resume, including a win at UFC 68 over Jason Gilliam. He won the WEC lightweight title in his second fight with the promotion, defeating Rob McCullough by TKO at WEC 32.

    Varner then won back-to-back fights over Marcus Hicks and Donald Cerrone before he was injured and was forced out of action for almost a year. He then lost to Ben Henderson, which has triggered a rough patch where he has fought to a draw with Kamal Shalorus and lost a rematch with Cerrone. He will fight Shane Roller in the final WEC event in December.

4. Carlos Condit

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    When a 22-year-old kid comes into a company with a marquee win over a top guy like Frank Trigg, people tend to notice. Condit entered the WEC with plenty of hype and delivered, winning his promotional debut against Kyle Jensen and taking the WEC welterweight title from John Alessio his next fight.

    Condit defended his title three times before being transferred into the UFC along with the rest of the WEC welterweight division.

3. Miguel Torres

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    Entering the WEC with a 34-1 record, Miguel Torres wasted little time showing off his skills, submitting Jeff Bedard with a first-round triangle choke and then publicly asking for a title shot. His wish was soon granted, and he fought Chase Beebe for the WEC bantamweight title at WEC 32.

    Torres won the title by submission in the first round and went on to defend his title three times before being finished in consecutive fights, by Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez respectively. Torres recently returned to his winning ways with a second-round win over Charlie Valencia.

2. Jose Aldo

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    The main attraction in the WEC, Jose Aldo has ripped off one of the most impressive streaks in WEC history. Aldo made his WEC debut in June of 2008, defeating Alexandre Nogueira by TKO in the second round at WEC 34. He then rattled off four straight stoppage wins against tough competition including an eight-second double flying knee knockout over Cub Swanson at WEC 41.

    Finally, at WEC 44, Aldo was awarded a title shot against Mike Brown who had just defeated WEC poster boy Urijah Faber for the second time. Aldo had little trouble with Brown and finished him in the second round, earning the WEC featherweight championship. Aldo followed his win over Brown with a lopsided decision over Faber and a second-round knockout of Manny Gamburyan.

    Aldo has been named the first UFC featherweight champion and will likely defend his belt against Josh Grispi at UFC 125.

1. Urijah Faber

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    The face of the WEC, Faber was by far the most important and most successful fighter in WEC history. After starting his career 11-1, with his lone loss to UFC veteran Tyson Griffin, Faber opened up his WEC career in the best possible way, defeating Cole Escovedo by TKO and capturing the WEC featherweight title.

    He then defended the title four straight times with wins over MMA legend Jens Pulver and current WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, before losing his title to Mike Brown. Since that fight, Faber has gone 2-2 with both of his losses coming in title fights to Brown and Jose Aldo respectively.