During a conference call to formally announce the merger, UFC president Dana White confirmed that Aldo would defend the featherweight championship at UFC 125 on January 1.
White didn't name a challenger, saying that the promotion is still working on an opponent, but he sounded definitive of Aldo participating in the annual New Year's weekend event. The Jan. 1 card will also mark the first time the UFC and WEC are merged, as the WEC will have two more shows before it is absorbed into its larger, sister promotion.
The dynamic Brazilian star has mowed through opponents in the WEC, winning all eight of his bouts. He captured the featherweight championship in Nov. 2009, and has successfully defended it twice, most recently knocking out Manny Gamburyan at WEC 51 in September.
Aldo (18-1) was recently offered a chance to move up a division to compete as a UFC lightweight but turned down a bout against Kenny Florian. Now, he'll be in the UFC as featherweight champion.
Among those likely to under consideration for the bout are Josh Grispi, Chad Mendes and Mark Hominick, though with the merger, it is certainly possible that a UFC lightweight could move down a division to challenge Aldo.