Knee injuries to UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has put the 135-pound world title on hold for nearly two years. After 8 months with a sidelined titleholder, the UFC elected to crown an interim champion.
Renan Barao and Urijah Faber fought for the interim bantamweight championship at UFC 149 on July 21, 2012. Barao defeated Faber that night to capture the interim belt, and defended it on Feb. 16, defeating challenger Michael McDonald by submission in the fourth round.
Barao faces an experienced and game Eddie Wineland in the co-main event of UFC 165 on Sept. 21. Barao hasn’t been defeated since his professional mixed martial arts debut in 2005. He is on a 30-fight winning streak, but Wineland is out to prove all streaks will eventually come to an end.
“His winning streak is amazing. I mean he’s got what, a 30 fight win streak? That being said, he hasn’t fought me yet,” said Wineland during a recent media conference call.
The 29-year-old former WEC bantamweight champion isn’t thinking about Barao’s winning streak, and views the interim titleholder as nothing more than another opponent.
“He’s just another man, he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like I do, and there’s no reason I can’t beat him,” said Wineland.
UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson takes place on Sept. 21 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and features two fight bouts. The Barao vs. Wineland interim bantamweight title fight leads into the light heavyweight championship main event between titleholder Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.