Former WEC Bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland is in for the biggest fight of his life this Saturday when he faces off with Interim UFC Bantamweight champion Renan Barao in the co-main event of UFC 165 in Toronto. Most are chalking it up as an easy win for Barao, the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt who sports a gaudy 31-fight unbeaten streak.
However, Wineland doesn’t care what everyone thinks. Just like in his real life, he thrives under pressure and perseveres through adversity. A perfect example is the start of Wineland’s UFC career, where he lost consecutive bouts against Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen.
Many fighters may have been devastated in that spot, but not Wineland. He fought his way back into title contention, and now he’s facing one of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters. He may be the underdog, but Wineland told Fighters Only Mag that’s a role he relishes:
“I like proving people wrong. When people say I’m not going to be able to do it or I’m not going to win, I love being able to tell them that they’re wrong and that I can do it and when I’ve done it I’m going to laugh at them because they put all of their money on the other guy and now they have nothing.”
He will indeed prove a great many people wrong if he can accomplish the incredibly tough task of beating Barao, who’s defeated each one of his five opponents in the Octagon.
It’s no secret that Wineland wants to turn this bout into a slugfest and knock Barao out, but that won’t be easy. Barao showed a great ability to keep Faber at bay with kicks when he obtained the belt at UFC 149. The two were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 161, so Wineland has a lot of time to think about proving his doubters wrong. Barao hasn’t lost since his very first fight in 2005. Is Wineland the man to finally end this amazing streak?
Outer Photo: Gary A. Vasquez of USA TODAY Sports