When a June bout between UFC interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao and Eddie Wineland fell apart due to injury it appeared as though the contender’s opportunity was on the verge of disappearing entirely. While most title-fights are re-booked barring a serious situation preventing one of the two involved parties from participating, Barao’s status as an “interim” champion led many to believe he would simply fight linear king Dominick Cruz later this year once “The Dominator” returned to full speed. After all, Wineland’s crack the belt was the result of a two-fight winning streak and lack of clear-cut challengers rather than some sort of unbelievable run.
Wineland recently revealed he too was concerned about the possibility of losing out on his date with Barao. However, with the tilt having since been set up for UFC 165, the 29-year old couldn’t be more pleased and knows he has Barao to thank for it.
“He just wants to fight. Yeah, he’s interested in fighting Dominick, but he’s more interested in staying busy and defending what is his,” said Wineland in an interview with Bleacher Report. “All the respect to Renan, and I’m very grateful he took the fight.”
The 20-8-1 Wineland held gold under WEC‘s banner and owns past wins over George Roop, Brad Pickett, and Scott Jorgensen. Fifteen of his wins have featured a finish. In Barao he will face one of the sport’s toughest draws, owning an overall record of 30-1 with thirty straight victories.
UFC 165 is scheduled for September 21 in Toronto.