WEC 48—or, as it was called almost exclusively at the time, “Aldo vs. Faber”—was World Extreme Cagefighting’s first and only pay-per-view effort. It put the WEC’s best foot forward on April 24, 2010, as the bill featured two of its most dominant champions, Jose Aldo and Benson Henderson, in the main and co-main events.
It was also more or less a dress rehearsal for the California promotion’s impending annexation by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, whose parent company Zuffa had purchased the WEC several years prior. The WEC’s usual commentary booth was replaced by the UFC’s trademark duo of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan, while Bruce Buffer, the “Veteran Voice of the Octagon,” stood in for the velvety baritone of WEC mainstay Joe Martinez Even the official posters and television ads featured “UFC Presents” over the event title.
Regardless of how it was packaged, once the actual fights started, WEC 48 was a sensational demonstration of the organization’s talent level and a hint of just what kind of impact that talent would have on the UFC by year’s end. In the headliner, Aldo—already a pound-for-pound standout and likely the most accomplished featherweight ever—thrashed promotional poster boy Urijah Faber for five lopsided rounds to keep the belt he would carry with him to the UFC when he became its inaugural 145-pound champion. In the co-feature, Henderson defended his WEC lightweight title by making short work of Donald Cerrone in their rematch.
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All four of those men would become UFC mainstays, of course. Aldo and Henderson would wear UFC gold, as would Anthony Pettis, who tapped out Alex Karalexis earlier on the card, and Demetrious Johnson, who suffered his first career loss in his WEC debut, as he was soundly outwrestled by Brad Pickett on the undercard. On top of those four future champs, “Cowboy,” Faber, Chad Mendes and Chan Sung Jung would fight for titles, and Cerrone would of course go on to single-handedly rewrite most of the UFC record book—a pursuit he continues to this day.
WEC 48 notched a reported 175,000 pay-per-view buys and a live gate of nearly a million dollars, exceeding the modest expectations of most industry observers. However, if the promotion’s fate was still in any doubt, the event’s success did no more than postpone what was coming. The WEC would hold five more events—it ended with its unforgettable “Showtime Kick” swan song at WEC 53 in December 2010—before being officially folded into the UFC. The little blue cage has passed into legend, and perhaps no single event showcased more of the reasons why than “Aldo vs. Faber.”