Just days after his first successful WEC lightweight title defense, Jamie Varner (15-2) says he believes the organization is well-suited to attract top-level opposition for future bouts.
Varner discussed his desire to face elite-level competition while a guest of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"I have faith that the WEC is constantly growing," Varner said. "They're constantly recruiting new talent. They're going to be finding guys for me to fight. I trust that eventually a guy that they're going to bring in will be a top-five guy, a top-10 guy, and I'll have a true test."
Varner survived an early test from challenger Marcus Hicks this past Sunday night's WEC 35 event. But after overcoming the initial onslaught, Varner was able to blast back with a barrage of punches, kicks and knees en route to a first-round stoppage.
Varner was impressed by the courage of his opponent.
"I was definitely wondering when [Hicks] was finally going to (fall)," Varner said. "Either the corner was going to throw in the towel or he was going to take his final fall. That was definitely going through my head as I was hitting him. I was like, 'How is this guy still standing?' But eventually he did fall, and (referee Steve) Mazzagatti stopped the fight."
The win was Varner's fourth in a row. "The Worm" has lost just once in his most recent 15 official bouts.
Varner believes there are a few immediate obstacles for him to overcome. Once past them, he feels the responsibility will shift to the WEC to find him suitable challengers.
"I'd like to fight Richard Crunkilton, Donald Cerrone or 'Razor' Rob (McCullough) again," Varner said. "I think any of those three would be worthy opponents -- or even all three of them. I'm looking at those three.
"And if I win all three of those fights, I pretty much cleaned out my division. And then the WEC is going to have to find some new talent."
McCullough, who Varner defeated for the title in February, and Cerrone, an undefeated prospect, will meet in September at WEC 36 in Hollywood, Fla., Varner believes the winner of that bout will more than likely be tagged as his next foe.
"I haven't heard anything about my next fight," Varner said. "I just kind of assume that it's going to be the winner of 'Razor' Rob and Cerrone, the 'Cowboy.' Next Monday I'm going to start training for a right-handed kickboxer. Hopefully I'll end up with one of those guys."
Should Varner be able to register his fifth consecutive victory, the Arizona Combat Sports fighter trusts the WEC will continue to seek out the best available opponents.
"I think I should be fighting top-five guys," Varner said. "I trust that the WEC will be bringing me that kind of talent and that kind of competition.
"I'm 23 years old. I'm in no hurry. But my goal is to be the best fighter in the world, and I trust that the WEC will get me there."
Varner also discussed the possibility of a cross-promotional bout with the WEC's sister-company, the UFC, his training with Arizona Combat Sports, and his days before becoming a full-time fighter. To hear the full interview, download Wednesday's edition of "TAGG Radio," available for free in the TAGG Radio archives.