Eddie Wineland has held championship gold before, as he was the first WEC bantamweight champion.
Now, as he prepares to compete for the UFC title, Wineland feels it has been his destiny all along.
However, that nearly came crashing down when Renan Barao pulled out of a planned fight earlier this year. The two now meet next Saturday at UFC 165 in Toronto.
“I was bummed (when the first fight was cancelled),” he said. “I was the first holder of the WEC belt and felt (fighting for the UFC title) was a homecoming. I had been training my butt off and put it all on the line.
“I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me, but that is the nature of the sport. Injuries happen.”
During the time it took Barao to recover, Wineland was most concerned with one thing.
“I was worried Dominick (Cruz) would come back and fight,” he said. “Until I got that call (he was facing Barao), I was on the edge.”
Cruz, the UFC bantamweight champion, remains sidelined following a second knee surgery. The winner of Barao-Wineland could be positioned to either become the unified champion or face Cruz in early 2014.