As bantamweight champion in the WEC — the promotion’s inaugural 135lb champ no less — Eddie Wineland was a trailblazer. Now 35, Wineland (24–13–1) returns to action this Saturday at UFC 250, now the veteran facing a surging up-and-comer in Sean O’Malley.
The fight is the oldest tale in combat sports: the young cub versus the old lion. It’s a chance for Wineland to derail a hype train, but that’s almost secondary, it seems.
“It’s a big opportunity for me, it’s a big opportunity for him also,” Wineland observed, speaking to Cageside Press at the UFC 250 virtual media day. “He’s fighting a veteran. I’m fighting a guy who, he’s got a huge name. Although he hasn’t been in the UFC that long, he’s got a very big name, a big following. As far as derailing, I mean, it is what it is. They set us up to fight. If it derails him, it derails him. Sorry, but I’m here to win. I’m not here to be looked over.”
It could be a torch-passing moment, but Wineland is still motivated to keep going, he told us.
“I’m still in great shape. I’ve always said that I’m going to continue fighting until I feel my body just doesn’t put up with it anymore,” he explained. “And through the years, linking up with with the gym that I’m with now and with my strength and conditioning coach about 10 years ago, I kind of started adapting to work smarter, not harder. Taking rest days when needed and just just kind of training better. And training at 100% three days a week versus six days has allowed me to be— at 35 I’m in better shape than I was at 25.”
UFC 250 takes place this Saturday, June 6, at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card airs live on PPV following prelims on ESPN (TSN in Canada).