After two impressive victories over Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett, Eddie Wineland earned himself a shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim bantamweight strap, currently held by Brazilian standout Renan Barao.
Fresh off his first-ever title defense against Michael McDonald at UFC on FUEL TV 7, Renan looks to extend his insane winning streak to 31 straight fights as he headlines UFC 161 opposite Wineland on June 15, 2013 which is set to pop off in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
But, that task will be easier said than done, because according to Wineland, when Barao steps into the Octagon this summer, he'll be facing someone who is stronger, faster and hits harder than him. The same man who says he is also the better wrestler and intends to end the fight as quickly as possible.
Wineland broke it down at this week's (April 10, 2013) UFC 161 press conference:
"My training for this fight is no different than any other fight. We're training just like we normally train, a little more grappling, pushing a little harder. Obviously it's a 25-minute fight, not that I intend to let it go 25 minutes, but we will be ready for it. I think I'm stronger, I think I'm faster and I think I hit harder. I think I am the better wrestler. On June 15, we are going to find out who has the advantage."
Prior to making his Octagon debut, Wineland was riding a four-fight win streak in the now-defunct World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) organization, but suffered two consecutive unanimous decision losses to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez once inside the UFC ranks.
He rebounded nicely, however, putting on a "Fight of the Night" performance against the aforementioned Jorgensen at UFC on FX 3 before handing "One Punch" his second loss under the UFC banner at UFC 155.
With a title fight looming, Eddie is "pushing a little harder" in training, just to prove that he does have the size, strength and speed advantage against a proven champion who hasn't tasted defeat in over eight years.
From the sounds of it, Wineland is more than up to the challenge. But, can he get the job done?