It was just a matter of days ago when Eddie Wineland was on the verge of the biggest fight of his life at UFC 161.
Now, his future is filled with uncertainty.
When news surfaced last Saturday night (May 18, 2013) that interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao was forced off the UFC 161 fight card due a foot injury, many were left wondering what would happen to Wineland.
Unfortunately, the 28-year-old will not be able to compete at the event in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and the title fight he had with Barao is no longer a guarantee due to all the moving parts at 135 pounds and the impending return of Dominick Cruz
With the exact severity of Barao's injury unknown at this time, there are a lot of variables for all parties involved, which leaves Wineland crushed and unsatisfied.
"He said it's crushing to him," Ariel Helwani reported on Tuesday's (May 21, 2013) edition of "UFC Tonight" on FUEL TV. "He said it's like dangling a piece of cake in front of a fat kid for months, and then not letting him eat it. He wants to wait for Barao if it doesn't take too long for him to recover from the injury."
Normally this situation would be easy, as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officials would simply reschedule the contest when both fighters are healthy.
But with the Cruz x-factor in the mix, that's far from the situation and as Helwani reports, the return of "The Dominator" could make Wineland the odd man out of the bantamweight title picture.
"I talked to current champ Dominick Cruz and his recovery is going well," said Helwani. "He's hoping to come back before the end of the year. Then he'd get fight Barao, instead of Wineland."
With UFC 161 left without a headliner, the promotion upgraded the co-main event between Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans to the top of the card and also booked Roy Nelson on short notice for some added depth.
UFC 161: "Evans vs. Henderson" goes down June 15, 2013 from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
For more news and notes on the pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza, visit our comprehensive event archive here.