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Wineland finally gets his shot at Barao at UFC 165

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James Lynch, TSN.ca
9/19/2013 9:03:55 PM
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Four months doesn't seem like that long of a layoff, but for 135lb title challenger Eddie Wineland it has felt like an eternity.

Initially slated to battle for the bantamweight championship in the main event at UFC 161 in Winnipeg against interim 135lb tourchbearer Renan Barao, those plans were unfortunately scrapped as the Brazillian Barao had to bow out due to a foot injury.

Now placed in the co-main event at UFC 165 this Saturday, he doesn't feel any less pressure playing second fiddle to Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson who headline the card.

"Being that I'm like a 500 point underdog (anyways), that takes away the pressure right there," Wineland told TSN.ca.

"He's expected to come in and just beat on me. There's nobody in the world that can just come and beat on me -- you'll know you're in a fight. And if I lose you're still going to get beat up."

For the Indiana native it's been a long journey, from becoming the first-ever WEC bantamweight champion back 2006 to competing in his first UFC fight in 2011 against Urijah Faber.

"This is full circle and now I get to fight for the UFC belt and that's something I never thought would happen, so it's just absolutely awesome"

While the odds may suggest this is a one-sided fight, Barao is expecting a war.

"I'm very well prepared and very well trained," Barao said. "He's a very tough opponent and I've been following (Wineland's) career for a quite long time."

Despite riding a 31-fight unbeaten streak, the Nova Uniao member isn't over confident and is prepared for any scenario in which the fight could play out.

"I know how tough and difficult this fight will be and I'm prepared to go five rounds. I feel great, well prepared, and I'm going to provide a great show on Saturday."

For Wineland, the 29-year old challenger, he sees Saturday night's title fight as a chance to shock the world.

"The majority of people are counting me out and I'll take it with open arms. When I do what I do on Saturday night, they're just not going to know what to think."

Renan Barao Eddie Wineland  (Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
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