Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland talks WEC

By Keith Mills

WEC’s second show under Zuffa ownership takes place on March 24th with three title fights, one of which is Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland defending the belt for the first time against Chase Beebe. Eddie used to train out of UFC vet Keith Wisniewski’s Duneland Vale Tudo but now trains at Miguel Torres Martial Arts, a Carlson Gracie affiliate. Wineland won the belt when he beat Antonio Banuelos last May. Since then he picked up a win over Dan Swift in February at Total Fight Challenge, Eddie’s first fight to ever go to a decision.

KM: You are defending your Bantamweight title in WEC?
EW: Yes, I won the title in May, Cinco de Mayo actually.

KM: Can you tell us about that fight?
EW: I saw one of his fights before so I knew he was going to be really strong and real explosive. I have a wrestling background so really wasn’t afraid of him taking me down so I wanted to stand there and bang with him. That is how most of my fights are, like a Chuck Liddell style I’ll use my wrestling just to keep it on my feet. I’m a better boxer than wrestler though. He threw a high kick and left himself open so I hit him with a combo and kicked him in the face. That was the end of the fight 2:36 or the first round.

KM: Since then you had one fight in Total Fight Challenge, a win over Dan Swift?

EW: Yeah. I went about four months with a shoulder injury and actually almost pulled out of that fight. The more I thought about it I was like ‘TV time, world title, I can’t pull out of this…even if I lose it is good exposure’. During that layoff I tried everything and nothing worked so I started doing acupuncture and it really helped my shoulder out. I started training hard again but once I did I got a cut over my eye where you could see my skull. I got it in training so I had to take it easy again and I was out another month. I started training hard again and popped my elbow. Started training again and I got the fight against Dan Swift, more or less a warm-up. I knew there was a possibility I could lose because he is tough and has experience but then again I needed that type of fight for a tune-up fight. In that fight I was rusty but I pulled it off.

KM: SO you are 100% to fight now?
EW: Yes. I’m gonna finish it.

KM: I have to rib you about that being your only decision win ever. You haven’t even been into a third round. You must have been really off.

EW: That is what I’m saying. I hit him but I couldn’t go in for the kill. It was that ring rust. I actually kicked his legs out from under him. I kicked him so many times he had a hard time walking and they had to carry him out of the ring.

KM: This is your first time fighting for WEC since Zuffa bought them out. How do you feel about returning now that it is a Zuffa show?

EW: I can’t wait. I had something to prove last time but this time I really want to make a statement. People have seen what I’m capable of but now but now my game has come even further. I’m going to show them even more of my game. I’m ready to get in there and get it done.

KM: What do you know about Jay Beebe and what do you think about fighting him?

EW: I know he is a really intense wrestler. He is the four-time state champ so that says a lot. He is going to have a good mental game and a good cardio game. If it does for some reason go five rounds I’m ready to go five rounds but at the same time my plan is for it to end early. I want to stay away from his takedown and keep it on the feet and if he does take me down my jiu-jitsu game is just fine.

KM: I read you used to train at Duneland Vale Tudo but Keith Wisniewski told me you are at Miguel Torres’ place. Can you explain?
EW: I made a switch from Duneland to Torres. There is no bad blood and I love the guys there and would consider them my family but I had to look at it as a career move and what is best for me. If you check out he is #3 and I’m #8. In my eyes he is #1. He showed me more technical aspects of the game. I’m not saying the guys at Duneland aren’t technical, all those guys are really tough and hard-nosed but I needed to expand, needed a little more.

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Anonymous said...

Eddie is gonna KO Beebe in the 1st

EvilMaster said...

Agreed :)