After tearing through the WEC in 2010 with three consecutive wins, bantamweight Eddie Wineland ran into some roadblocks when he arrived to the UFC in March 2011.
Unfortunately for Wineland, his roadblocks consisted of world class martial artists Joseph Benavidez and Urijah Faber. While Wineland held his own (en route to being defeated by decision in both bouts), he hasn't had his hand raised since his victory over Ken Stone at WEC 53.
At 27 years of age, Wineland is still searching for his first UFC victory, and has hopes of finding it when he meets Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FX 3 this Friday, June 8.
Wineland recently sat down with Bleacher Report to discuss his upcoming bout, along with a variety of different topics.
Garrett Derr: You started fighting when you were just 18 years old and a high school graduate. What was the deciding factor in choosing to take up the sport of MMA?
Eddie Wineland: I graduated from high school when I was just 17 years old. So I started training literally right out of high school. I started my training with my friend from high school at Duneland Vale Tudo. Two months later, I fought a 37-year-old grown man and came out on top. It was my first fight, and it had me hooked.
GD: You couldn't have envisioned a 3-4-1 start to your career, right? What was your thought process as you began your MMA career in such a slump? Did you ever think about throwing in the white towel?
EW: I knew that all my losses were all just mistakes I had made. I was still green. But I did consider just taking up the sport of boxing because I just hated the feelings of losing. One of my close friends looked at me and said that I have too much potential to walk away from MMA. So I decided to stick it out.
GD: Since that time, you went on to win 15 of 17 fights. What really was the difference-maker in turning your career around?
EW: The difference-maker was simple. I started having a better mind-set. I started telling myself that there is no one out there that can beat me.
GD: I read another interview that stated you enjoy smashing up pumpkins and produce. What's the story behind this?
EW: The pumpkin thing is actually an inside joke. It's from the movie, 'Step Brothers.' In the movie, Will Ferrell is quoted by stating, "Do you want to go to the garage and do karate?" [laughing]. I like to have a good time and stay relaxed. I'm hardly ever serious about something.
GD: So, you're set to take on Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FX 3. Where do you see a weak part in his game that you can exploit and what areas have you put a stronger focus on in this camp?
EW: Scott is a really good wrestler. Not only that, but he is someone who has developed his striking and has power to go along with it. I think I'm the faster and stronger fighter. I believe that I'm more technical on the feet as well.
Overall, my wrestling is great and I think the fight is going to be very exciting for the fans.
GD: I've heard that your little brother is someone you admire greatly. Why is he your hero?
EW: Yes, he is. My little brother was in a very bad accident where 98% of his body was burned. That was when he was only two years old. He is now 18 years old and I just think of what he has been through.
I think if he can endure 16 years of pain and suffering, then I need to suck it up and endure 15 minutes of fighting inside the Octagon.
GD: At one point in your career you were a full-time firefighter. Is this still the case? If so, how do you find the necessary time to train for an opponent like Scott Jorgensen?
EW: I am actually still a full-time firefighter. The whole firefighting actually goes hand-in-hand with my training. When it really boils down to it, I only work about 110 days a year as a firefighter. All the other days are spent in the gym preparing myself for my upcoming bouts.
GD: To wrap things up, who would you like to thank?
EW: I'd really like to thank the New Breed Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Chicago, Duneland Vale Tudo, and Jason Gusic at Applied Strength and Conditioning. I'd also like to thank Oren Hodak at KO Reps and my family for supporting me.
My girlfriend has also been there for me and puts up with my eight weeks of crap [laughing]. I'd really like to thank everyone who has helped me prepare for this moment.
Garrett Derr is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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