Eddie Wineland makes his UFC debut at UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones, but it’s just another WEC fight to him.
The first ever WEC bantamweight champion, Wineland, admits he’s eager to get the UFC 128 co-main event bout with Urijah Faber behind him, but it has little to do with the change of canvas color and promotional acronyms.
“This fight, I’m anxious to get in there and get it done,” said Wineland. “To me, the WEC always was the UFC for the little guys. The only difference for me is putting on a set of black gloves, and you get a few more feet to run around in.”
It’s a match up of former champion versus former champion. Faber held the 145-pound title for nearly two years from spring 2006 until late 2008. He made his bantamweight debut at WEC 52 in November. The UFC 128 fight will be his second time competing in the bantamweight division.
“To fight Urijah, it’s an honor. It’s great. Everybody knows Urijah Faber. He’s a great dude. He’s a great fighter. He’s dangerous in all areas. I can’t wait to test myself against him,” stated the 26-year old fighter.
The winner will likely be first in line to fight champion Dominick Cruz for a title, and Wineland discussed the stylistic match up from his vantage point.
“Urijah, he brings a lot to the table. I mean, he’s got a tool box full of tools, and they’re all sharpened and ready to go,” said Wineland.
“His hands have improved immensely from what I’ve seen. His wrestling, obviously he’s a great wrestler. His jiu-jitsu is no joke. He brings a lot to the table, and like he said, we’re both very fast. We’re both very strong for our size. That comes with the territory being a little guy. We are both athletic. We’re both in great shape, and it’s going to be an exciting, fast-paced fight. “
It’s true, styles make fights, and Wineland believes his can shut down Faber’s.
“As far as his strengths, I think his strengths are in grappling, and with my fighting style, I’m very hard to find in order to take me down.,” he said. “He’s going to have to find me to get me to the ground.”
UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on March 19. The fight card is headlined by the light heavyweight title bout between champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Jon Jones.