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WEC's Greatest Moments: 20-1

Continue the countdown of WEC's greatest moments: 20-1

20. Bendo vs Roller – WEC 40: The logjam in the WEC’s lightweight division was as tight as it could be when Benson Henderson and Shane Roller walked in. A fight between two men as skilled as Henderson and Roller is usually a title fight or title eliminator, but the WEC was just too stacked and the two rising stars made sure everybody in the division knew they were problems.

Benson Henderson vs Shane Roller here:

19. Never Count Beebe Out – WEC 26: The fans and commentary team alike seemed to count Chase Beebe out of his fight with Eddie Wineland as soon as it begun. Never one to say “die,” Beebe gave the WEC one of the best performances the blue cage ever hosted and proved them all wrong.

Chase Beebe vs Eddie Wineland here:

18. Cub Swanson vs Mackens Semerzier – WEC 52: Was there even a reason to offer a Fight of the Night bonus when Cub Swanson is in the cage? Due for a big performance after two straight losses, Mackens Semerzier was ready to fight like his life depended on it. Cub Swanson never lets a second or ounce of energy go to waste, and the two put on the performance for the ages for the Las Vegas crowd. Swanson being Swanson says despite winning the fight, he wishes they could have gone one more round.

Cub Swanson vs Mackens Semerzier here:

17. Poppies’ Last Stand – WEC 24: With rumblings of Zuffa coming in on the horizon, things were about to change in a big way. Some fighters from the early days of the WEC would never be coming back. One of those men was Poppies Martinez. In a much-needed rematch with Robert Breslin, Poppies Martinez got his hands on the WEC North American Lightweight Championship and rode off into the sunset. It was too early to say goodbye to Martinez, but he walked out with a belt around his waist.

Poppies Martinez vs Robert Breslin 2 here:

16. “Are you still relevant in this division?” – WEC 38: Jens Pulver found himself lost after dropping his third straight fight for the first time in his career. After letting the fans of Sacramento know what they meant to him, Jens Pulver turned his attention toward Craig Hummer who asked, in front of a sold-out crowd, “Are you still relevant in this division?” All that question did was turn more people into Jens Pulver fans when he answered from the heart with class, cleared the doubt from his head and promised everybody he wasn’t going anywhere.

Urijah Faber vs Jens Pulver 2 here:

15. Aldo Foreshadowing – WEC 38: Jose Aldo finishing Rolando Perez via knees was impressive enough on its own, but when he left the Octagon to run into the crowd and celebrate long before he ever did it in the UFC, it was a moment that nobody will forget. Fans who were hanging around WEC events had quite the “been there, done that” attitude when the world lost their minds as he celebrated with the fans after his Chad Mendes fight in the UFC.

Jose Aldo vs Rolando Perez here:

14. Pettis Rolls Roller – WEC 50: With a WEC record of 5-1 coming into WEC 50, wrestling standout Shane Roller looked to use his wrestling to put a blanket over the flashy fight style of Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Flashy, a unique striker, strong BJJ but not known for his wrestling, right? What Roller wasn’t expecting was Anthony Pettis to beat him at his own game for 14 minutes and choke him out. Why was this fight relevant? Well, it was one of the greatest single performances in the WEC, but it also set up Anthony Pettis vs Benson Henderson at WEC 53.

Anthony Pettis vs Shane Roller here:

13. Stann’s Day in the Sun – WEC 33: By WEC 33, the promotion was as hot as Reed Harris and Scott Adams could have ever asked for. One reason behind that was the All-American, everybody’s favorite 205er, Brian Stann. Stann had finally earned a title shot,, and standing in his way was one of the most heavy-handed brawlers the WEC ever saw, Doug Marshall. There was no way this fight would end with anything short of spectacular and it delivered. It still serves as Brian Stann and WEC highlight reel action to this day.

Brian Stann vs Doug Marshall here:

12. 2009 Fight of the Year – WEC 43: Benson Henderson vs Donald Cerrone was one of the most perfect storms in MMA history. It was one of the first times either man had faced the most elite of competition to date, it was the first title shot either man would ever receive and although it was only for interim gold, the winner would take on Jamie Varner to unify the titles. The result? A clear cut 2009 Fight of the Year.

Benson Henderson vs Donald Cerrone here:

11. “The rematch the world has been waiting for” – WEC 51: After 53 professional MMA bouts to date, there haven’t been too many to go into the Octagon with genuine ill will for “Cowboy” Cerrone. There have been a couple, but possibly the most heated rivalry of his career was way back in the WEC with Jamie Varner. Having a split decision when they originally met at WEC 38 only made tensions run higher. It was the most sought-after rematch outside of Mike Brown vs Urijah Faber 2 and it’s one of the most underappreciated robberies in MMA history that we never got the trilogy bout.

Donald Cerrone vs Jamie Varner 2 here:

10. Bowles Shocks the World – WEC 42: With a record of 7-0, it’s hard to believe that Brian Bowles would walk into a title fight at WEC 42 as a +280 underdog, but when the 37-1 Miguel Torres stood across the Octagon it started to make sense. With almost ten TKO stoppages and over 20 submission victories to his name, it seemed that Bowles was simply just another sacrificial lamb. With just over a minute left in the first round, Brian Bowles hit Torres harder and more square than anybody had before handing him his first KO loss and taking home his title in the process.

Brian Bowles vs Miguel Torres here:

9. The Aldo Era Begins – WEC 44: In the same way that Khamzat Chimaev has come from almost out of nowhere and grabbed the attention of everybody while Israel Adesanya sits at the top of the division at the height of his own fame, Jose Aldo was lighting the division on fire while Mike Brown was proving to the world he was the undisputed champ. It was only a matter of time before the two met and only one man could walk away with the belt. Little did the world know, the winner of the fight would go on to become the P4P greatest fighter in the world.

Jose Aldo vs Mike Brown here:

8. Meet Donald Cerrone – WEC 36: With one of the most celebrated careers in all of MMA, Cowboy Cerrone’s coming out party against Rob McCullough may withstand the test of time as his greatest performance. The former WEC champion, Rob McCullough had more WEC experience than almost anybody in the promotion and some of the best striking the 155-pound division had to offer. Cerrone was the new kid wowing the crowd at 2-0 with two finishes in the WEC but was nowhere near former champ status yet. Or was he? Everybody in the world learned the name Donald Cerrone after this dominant performance, even Frank Mir, who referred to him as “David Cerrone” for the majority of the fight.

Donald Cerrone vs Rob McCullough here:

7. Lil Evil Hits the Scene – WEC 31: Jens Pulver defined an entire era for the UFC, knocking off legends every step of the way to a title run in a division he was completely undersized in. After parting ways from the organization, he would come to the WEC and finally find a home where he could fight people his own size. His first stop would be against Cub Swanson in a fight that quickly became heated when a mysterious injury led to speculation of Pulver running from the surging Swanson. It was the biggest debut in WEC history and brought a lot of bad blood the WEC was unfamiliar with.

Jens Pulver vs Cub Swanson here:

6. Old Meets New – WEC 48: Jose Aldo vs Urijah Faber was for a lot more than just the WEC featherweight title. Jose Aldo hadn’t even had a close round since he came to the WEC. It was the Aldo show from Day One. On the other side was Urijah Faber, the people’s champ and the face of the WEC. It was Faber’s third shot at the title in the WEC, the second since losing it to Mike Brown two years prior, and if anybody could walk in and steal a win from the most dangerous featherweight on the planet it was going to be The California Kid. What ensued was one of the most violent displays of leg destruction in WEC history and it left absolutely no doubt that while Faber had more heart than almost any featherweight alive, Aldo was the real deal.

Jose Aldo vs Urijah Faber here:

5. The Passing of the Torch – WEC 36: Nobody came close to the level of stardom Urijah Faber carried all throughout the WEC. He was 6-0 in the promotion and the clear-cut champion with title defenses over Dominick Cruz, Jens Pulver and others. He was as talented as he was likable, and he was seemingly everybody’s favorite WEC fighter. In walked a UFC veteran with one WEC win and he tore the paintings off the walls. The Florida audience watched as one of the hardest things for a WEC fan to fathom unfolded right in front of them. Mike Brown knocked out Faber in the first round and completely ended the era that threw the WEC into superstardom.

Mike Brown vs Urijah Faber 1 here:

4. Leonard Garcia vs The Korean Zombie – WEC 48: There’s very few fighters who could put on the show that Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung did at WEC 48. Garcia showed the world why he was a staple of the WEC since the very first show, while Jung gave the U.S. audience everything they expected in one of the greatest slugfests in MMA history. It was the rare fight where neither man walks out a loser and it still ranks as Reed Harris’ favorite fight in promotional history. If somehow you haven’t seen this fight yet, get yourself a late Christmas present, set aside 15 minutes and experience one of the greatest tests of will possible. No bad blood, no trash talk, just some broken hands and possibly the greatest prelim fight in MMA history.

Leonard Garcia vs Chan Sung Jung here:

3. Chael “Didn’t Tap” – WEC 31: Remember the time Chael Sonnen manhandled Anderson Silva for 100% of the fight but then was submitted with less than two minutes left? It’s one of the most memorable moments in UFC history. Remember the time Chael Sonnen manhandled Paulo Filho for 100% of the fight and was submitted with five seconds left? Equally memorable for the WEC. In typical Sonnen fashion, “The American Gangster” used top notch wrestling to control the entirety of the fight with the champ before working his way into an armbar that ended the fight. Plenty of controversy surrounded the stoppage as Sonnen never visibly taps. It does sound an awful lot like somebody is yelling “tap” and it would make a lot of sense that the man in the armbar would be the one conceding. The submission/lack thereof is still referred to, to this day, and even Sonnen himself enjoys the “I didn’t do it” loophole he hoped to find.

Paulo Filho vs Chael Sonnen here:

2. The Superfight – WEC 34: If you look at attendance alone, Urijah Faber vs Jens Pulver 1 could have a case for number one on this list. Never before did a WEC arena get rocking like the main event of WEC 34 and few times since. It’s not often where everything falls into place as perfectly as Faber vs Pulver did. UFC vs WEC, champ vs champ, legend vs star and the winner was fighting in his hometown. Everybody watching remembers exactly where they were when The California Kid and Lil’ Evil finally clashed.

Urijah Faber vs Jens Pulver 1 here:

1. The Showtime Kick – WEC 53: Not exactly a mystery, was it? While we’re talking about things falling perfectly into place, the flashiest striker in the promotion clashed with one of the most technically disciplined fighters in the promotion for the lightweight title. With both men shoe-ins for UFC futures, Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson lit the entire arena up for five straight rounds. Creativity and energy were at an all-time high when Pettis landed one of the greatest kicks of all-time. Still, to this day, when fans watch UFC events live, compilations play of the most memorable moments in the UFC. The only non-UFC shot shown is Anthony Pettis running and jumping off the cage to land a nearly fight-ending kick to the head of Henderson. One of the final strikes in the final fight of the final event. It couldn’t have been written out any better. Even fans of the last couple years know exactly what you mean when you mention the Showtime Kick. On behalf of the WEC, MMA fans and fighters as a whole, thank you Anthony Pettis for sending the WEC off the right way.

Anthony Pettis vs Benson Henderson here: