Eddie Wineland wasn’t certain he would still get a crack at the interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao. Due to a foot injury, Barao needed to remove himself from their UFC 161 title main event. The fight has been rescheduled as the co-main event of UFC 165.
“I think that was good on his part,” said Wineland to Bleacher Report. “He just wants to fight. Yeah, he’s interested in fighting Dominick [Cruz], but he’s more interested in staying busy and defending what is his. All the respect to Renan, and I’m very grateful he took the fight.”
Technically, Cruz is the division’s bantamweight champion though he’s been unable to fight for two years because of an ACL tear. Some thought his return would be against Barao to unify the belts, but Cruz has no return date.
Wineland won his two fights last year opposite Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett. The wins improved him to 2-2 under the UFC name.
Barao lost his debut fight in 2005. Since then, he’s won his last 30 contests.
UFC 165 comes from the Air Canada Centre on September 21.