There is a possible bantamweight number one contender eliminator match being discussed between former featherweight top contender Jeff Curran (29-10-1) and the undefeated training partner of Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez (9-0), for WEC 40 in Chicago, Ill., on April 5.
Curran's last two fights for the Zuffa-owned promotion have been in the 145-pound featherweight division. In those two matches we saw him lose to former champion Urijah Faber by submission at WEC 31 and then fall to reigning division kingpin Mike Thomas Brown via decision at WEC 34 in June.
After the losses he decided to make the move down to the 135-pound division and fight as a bantamweight. Since then he's been pushing hard for a shot at current champion Miguel Torres, but has yet to make his debut in the division.
Perhaps the promotion felt Curran needed to get his feet wet at 135 pounds before it went and just gave him a shot at the title. In short, he may find himself only one win away from getting the fight with Torres that he's lobbied so hard for.
The man standing in his way, Joseph Benavidez, is one of the most dangerous young fighters in the organization. He was supposed to have his coming out party against "Kid" Yamamoto (17-1) on the DREAM 5 card last summer, but instead had to settle for Junya Kudo (7-2-2) when Kid pulled out with with a knee injury.
Faber was a guest in the announcer's booth during the match and raved about his training partner the entire time. Benavidez came through with the goods, too, submitting Kudo in the opening minutes of the first round. This will be his second start in the WEC -- he beat Danny Martinez by unanimous decision at WEC 37: "Torres vs. Tapia" in his debut.
And Benavidez will more than likely give Curran all he can handle on April 5.
WEC 40 features Miguel Torres in the main event, defending his title for the third time against undefeated American Top Team product Brian Bowles on his home turf. The winner of the fight will likely lock horns with either Curran or Benavidez at a later date, ensuring there is a lot at stake for the 135 pounders at WEC 40 in Chicago.
It should be a good one for the promotion's debut in the "Windy City."