WEC 46 is an event featuring the comeback of a champion, the return of a legend, the chance for a contender to rise, and the opportunity for an interim champion to declare legitimacy in a tough lightweight division.
Today, Jan. 8, the WEC conducted a press conference for its first card of 2010, featuring four fighters, each fitting one of the descriptions above. The fighters present included WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner, WEC interim lightweight champion Benson Henderson, featherweight legend Urijah Faber, and 145-pound contender Raphael Assuncao. WEC General Manager Reed Harris headed the press conference.
The WEC's first event of 2010 is one of the more anticipated events, as the promotion is set to return to Sacramento, California's ARCO Arena with their most notable fighter and hometown boy, Urijah "The California Kid" Faber, who is set to take on Assuncao in a featherweight war.
The other notable bout is the main event of the evening, a title unification contest between lightweight champion Jamie Varner and interim champion Benson Henderson. Varner has been out of the game since his bout with Donald Cerrone at WEC 38, almost one year ago. Henderson is coming off an impressive decision victory over Donald Cerrone at WEC 43, which won him the interim lightweight belt.
The fighters had an opportunity today to answer questions from media members and to explain what exactly was on their mind prior to WEC 46: "Varner vs. Henderson".
Take a look at the news and notes from today's press conference after the jump.
Reed Harris began the press conference complimenting the Sacramento fans, along with thanking ARCO Arena for playing host to Sunday night's event and the California State Athletic Commission for sanctioning it.
He quickly moved on to introduce the fighters, and while he had nothing but good things to say about everyone present, he went a little more out of his way for his most famous fighter, Urijah Faber, calling him "one of the finest fighters on the entire planet".
Each fighter had an opportunity to address the media briefly, and each one essentially stated the same thing - that his fight was going to be a battle. Faber summed up what everyone was trying to say with the statment, "Don't close your eyes."
The conference then moved on to the Q&A segment, where Jamie Varner was immediately targeted in regards to his long layoff and need to prove himself as a legitimate champion.
"I have a lot to prove," stated Varner. "I'm fighting for respect. I'm fighting for relevance."
Varner also explained that the past year was a tough one, after his technical decision victory over Donald Cerrone left a bad taste in his mouth. However, "C-4" knows the perfect solution to the problem and believes that his performance against "Smooth" on Jan. 10 will be the best of his career.
Both Faber and Varner are looking to rebound nicely in 2010. But they are not the only ones. Reed Harris also has tremendously high hopes for the 2010 fight-year and believes WEC 46 will be a great start to a potentially great year.
When asked what he believed the headline would read on Jan. 11, one day after WEC 46, Harris exclaimed, "WEC does it again in Sacramento."
To wrap up the conference, Harris brought up some business, announcing that Amp Energy would be playing a large role in 2010.
"Amp Energy is now the official drink of the WEC," stated Harris. "We couldn't be more happy about that and we are looking forward to 2010 with Amp."
It certainly seems the WEC has a lot to look forward to in the New Year, and what better place to start than with WEC 46 this Sunday, Jan. 10, on Versus to kick off 2010 for World Extreme Cagefighting.