UFC bantamweight fighter Eddie Wineland is about to engage in what can arguably be called his toughest and most-high profile bout to date, as he will be taking on WEC posterboy and former featherweight champ Urijah Faber in his UFC debut later this month. Despite the pressure currently resting on his shoulders, the experienced 26-year old is keeping things in perspective and is preparing himself to defeat “The California Kid,” as he recently told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole.
“It’s not a make-it-or-break-it fight for me,” said Wineland. “But, obviously, with the title shot out there, and fighting in the UFC and fighting Urijah, it’s a pretty huge deal to me.”
Wineland and Faber share an amicable relationship, but Wineland took issue with Faber’s recent assertion that he will emerge the victor in their bout by virtue of being dangerous in all areas while Wineland is only dangerous in one: striking.
“Faber is obviously in very great shape and he’s just a great athlete,” Wineland said. “He’s very, very strong, very powerful, very explosive. He’s a very dangerous fighter. He’s good at all aspects. Word on the street is, he feels I’m only good at one aspect.
“I may not be the best wrestler but I can wrestle with just about anybody,” he went on. “Wrestling is my main base. I grew up wrestling from the time I was just 6 years old. But I just so happened to adapt real well to striking. I’ve got that style of stuffing, the takedown and keeping it on the feet. Not a lot of people have seen my ground game because of my movements. It’s hard for people to get at my legs. It’s hard to find me. I’ve brought in a bunch of wrestlers – collegiate wrestlers, national champs, all kinds of champs. I’m not worried about if it becomes a wrestling match.”
Wineland knows that he has his work cut out for him in a bout that could provide him with a star-making turn and he is putting his faith into the hard work and dedication he has poured into this sport over the years to carry him through to victory.
“It’s all about just going out there and doing what I know I can do. If I fight my fight and perform, all the attention and all the stuff that goes along with it will occur naturally. That’s part of it,” he said. “My whole thing is just working as hard as I can to be the best I can be – and after that, it’s just a matter of performing.”
Wineland and Faber square off on the main card of UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones on the 19th of this month at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.