WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo
will likely defend his title at UFC 125 on Jan. 1 against Josh Grispi
– the first title defense of a WEC champ under the UFC banner.Versus.com was first to report
news of the Aldo-Grispi bout, and sources with knowledge of the proposed matchup told MMA Fighting that was the planned direction for Aldo's next defense. The fight would be the co-main event of the New Year's Day card behind a lightweight title fight between UFC champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
Grispi (14-1, 4-0 WEC) is currently slated to face Erik Koch at WEC 52 on Nov. 11, one of just two events left for the WEC before being folded into the UFC. UFC president Dana White announced the news of the merger Thursday, a story first reported by MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani
In addition, with Shane Carwin forced out of his UFC 125 fight with Roy Nelson due to back surgery, Versus.com reported that Nelson will be off the card completely. The Carwin-Nelson fight was to have served as the co-main event.
Aldo (18-1, 8-0 WEC) beat Manny Gamburyan at WEC 51 last month to defend his 145-pound title for the second time since taking it from Mike Brown at WEC 44 nearly a year ago. He beat former champ Urijah Faber at WEC 48 in April.
With the WEC roster of fighters becoming UFC fighters officially as of 2011, Aldo would be the first WEC fighter to fight as a UFC fighter after the merger – though it's possible other WEC fighters could still be added to the card.
The WEC's final event before the merger will be WEC 53 in Phoenix on Dec. 16, headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis and a co-main event between bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and Scott Jorgensen. The Henderson-Pettis winner will meet the Edgar-Maynard winner to unify the two 155-pound belts under one UFC lightweight title. The Cruz-Jorgensen winner will automatically be the UFC's first bantamweight champion.
UFC 125 takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main card will air live on pay-per-view.