LAS VEGAS | Twenty minutes into a post-fight news conference, Eddie Wineland only had managed a couple grins.
It was perhaps uncharacteristic, given earlier in the night he had notched his second straight win over a fellow Top 10 bantamweight. Despite his presumed demeanor, Wineland said he wasn't at all upset.
"I got paid, I got to fight somebody, I got punched, I got to punch somebody back – I'm a happy man," he said after Saturday's UFC 155 pay-per-view at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Wineland (20-8-1, 2-2 UFC), of Westville, beat England's Brad Pickett by split decision, getting a pair of 30-27 scorecard sweeps from two judges, but losing 29-28 on a third card.
The common saying in mixed martial arts is to "never let it go to the judges" because it's typically anyone's guess how three different sets of eyes will see any given fight.
"You never know what the judges are going to see," Wineland said. "I don't like to let it go three rounds, just for that simple fact. I feel that it was unanimous on my side, but (the judges) may see something different than you see or anyone else sees."
That appeared to be the case for Wineland. According to FightMetric, Wineland outstruck Pickett in each of the three rounds and outlander him 90-67 in the fight – though the FX broadcast reported a higher number during the fight.
In the first round, Wineland and Pickett got after each other. But in the second and third rounds, Wineland got strategic with his striking and stayed at the end of Pickett's punches.
According to Wineland's boss, UFC President Dana White, he fought a perfect fight – against one of White's personal favorite fighters.
"I always feel stupid saying stuff like this because I'm not supposed to say stuff like this, but I'm a huge Pickett fan," White said. "But (Wineland) looked good tonight. Pickett's a tough guy, and he stays in the pocket. He keeps throwing, he keeps moving forward no matter what you hit that kid with, and Eddie fought a perfect fight tonight and beat him."
Wineland won for the second straight time after a June knockout of Scott Jorgensen. What's next for him may be a fight that could get him a shot at the bantamweight title.
"I see myself wherever they want to put me," Wineland said. "Yeah, I'd like a shot at the belt. But keep me fighting and keep me happy. Wherever they want to put me."