With the UFC/WEC merger set to happen at the beginning of 2011, the smaller UFC Lightweights will finally have the option of dropping down to Featherweight while remaining a UFC fighter. Staying in the UFC meant being in the “big show” and everything that comes with that, including earning more money. Moving to the WEC though, while still under the ZUFFA banner meant less recognition, less sponsorship money and smaller paychecks.

Former UFC Lightweights Leonard Garcia and Manny Gamburyan didn’t have the option and made the tough decision to drop down to Featherweight and move over to the WEC. Current WEC Featherweights Mark Hominick and George Roop fought at Lightweight in the UFC and moved on to other promotions, where they dropped down in weight and were later signed by the WEC.

Fighters currently on the UFC Lightweight roster may have toyed with the same tough decision but choose to stay at lightweight in the UFC. They now have that option again and fans could see established UFC Lightweights dropping down to the Feather division, fighters like:

Tyson Griffin (5’-6)

Tyson Griffin (14-4) is 7-4 in the UFC and has faced some of the toughest fighters the lightweight division has to offer.  Griffin has fought at Featherweight before back in 2005 at Gladiator Challenge 42, where he defeated former WEC Featherweight champion Urijah Faber. Griffin has lost his last two fights and is scheduled to face Nik Lentz later this month at UFC 123. Win or lose at UFC 123, Griffin could be a force in the UFC featherweight division.

Jim Miller (5’-8)

Jim Miller (18-2) has gone 7-1 in the UFC and like Griffin has fought at Featherweight when he took on Muhsin Corbbrey for the Featherweight Title at Reality Fighting 13. Miller is riding a five fight winning streak and will face undefeated prospect Charles Oliveira at UFC 124. A win over Oliveira would Miller near the top of the division, but should he lose the Featherweight division could be an option.

Sean Sherk (5’-7)

Sean Sherk (34-4-1) has fought at Welterweight and currently Lightweight, where he was the champion before he was stripped of the belt after testing positive for anabolic steroids. Sherk is a short Lightweight but very stalking and even though Sherk would be a beast at Featherweight, he likely doesn’t have the 10 pounds to loss.

Frankie Edgar (5’-6)

The current UFC Lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (14-1) has lots of work to do in his division, but since joining the UFC Edgar has been considered a small Lightweight. Edgar has his hands full defending his belt against Gray Maynard at UFC 125, the only man to defeat him. Plus should he win at UFC 125 he’ll fight the WEC Lightweight champion later in 2011, so anything can happen between now and then. A dream fight / super fight between Edgar and Jose Aldo for the Featherweight title has a very nice ring to it though.

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