World Extreme Cagefighting made the announcement today that bantamweight top contender Joseph Benavidez will receive the first shot at Dominick Cruz’s new hardware. Cruz, who won the belt at WEC 47 against Brian Bowles when the champion was forced out after the second round due to injury, will defend his belt for the first time at WEC 50 on August 18 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
However, the 135-pound title fight set for late summer will not mark the first time the two top bantamweights have met in the cage. At WEC 42, Benavidez was purely outclassed by Cruz, who took a dominant unanimous decision in the evening’s bout. Benavidez received the nod for a rematch after decimating Rani Yahya at WEC 45 and submitting Miguel Torres at WEC 47.
The champion and the challenger in the bantamweight division will be joined this coming August by a pair of fellow top bantamweights. Urijah Faber, the former featherweight champion of the promotion, will make the move down to the 135-pound division opposite former top contender Takeya Mizugaki.
Mizugaki fell short in his title shot against Miguel Torres at WEC 40, the last time Torres successfully defended his title. Mizugaki has since gone 2-1 with victories over Jeff Curran and Rani Yaha, while dropping a unanimous decision in between those wins.
Faber, who last fought at WEC 48 against Jose Aldo for the 145-pound title, elected to drop down in weight after failing to recapture his title at featherweight on two separate occasions. Faber is a friend and training partner with Benavidez, along with being a rival of sorts to Cruz.
WEC 50 is set for August 18 when the WEC returns to The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two bantamweight fights, which will serve as main event and co-main event, are the only confirmed match ups for the event. A lightweight contest between Anthony Pettis and Shane Roller is expected to make the main card as well.