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Wineland Wants ‘That Shiny Belt Buckle’

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Eddie Wineland

It doesn’t get any easier for Eddie Wineland. Coming off losses to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez, the former WEC bantamweight champion is scheduled to fight the speedy Demetrious Johnson here in Chicago on January 28th for UFC on Fox 2.

The native of nearby Chesterton, Indiana is happy to fight so close to home. “I love to fight on this card because I’m such a home body and long trips just aren’t my thing,” Wineland told Chicago’s MMA.

While he’s thrilled to be staying close to home, it’s never been Wineland’s dream to fight in front of family and friends, many of whom won’t have to journey far to come see him at the United Center. “The only dream I have set my sights on is that shiny belt buckle,” Wineland said.

The road to obtaining that belt hits a crucial speed bump in the elusive Johnson. This fight will determine if Wineland is still a title contender. A loss to Johnson would be his third in a row, and surely would send him to the back of the bantamweight line.

Wineland’s pro career has been something of a roller coaster ride. He became the WEC’s first-ever bantamweight champ by beating Antonio Banuelos at WEC 20, just a month before his 22nd birthday. He lost the belt to Chase Beebe less than a year later.

He wasted little time in getting another strap. He went out and won the TFC bantamweight title, then returned to the WEC. He fought Rani Yahya here in Chicago at WEC 40, where he was submitted in the first round.

He shrugged off that loss and rattled off four straight WEC victories, which included back to back ‘Knockout of the Night’ honors. Wineland’s power slam KO of Ken Stone in the last-ever WEC event turned heads, went viral across the web and got fans jacked to see him again.

A win over Faber seemingly would have garnered Wineland another title shot, but Wineland couldn’t land the shots he wanted. Now he gets “Mighty Mouse”, who just went five rounds with the champion Dominick Cruz. And he’ll do it here in Chicago on national TV. The perfect place for Wineland to start his climb again.

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is a former TV producer who turned to new media in 2005, and he is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the XFO. His work has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided and more.

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