The waiting game is over for Eddie Wineland, and he likely is more than happy with the result.
Westville's Wineland is back in an Ultimate Fighting Championship title fight, it just will be about three months after it was originally scheduled for.
Wineland (20-8-1, 2-2 UFC) meets UFC interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao (30-1, 5-0 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC 165, which takes place Sept. 21 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
The two 135-pounders were supposed to fight in June as the headliner of UFC 161 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. But Barao suffered a foot injury in May that knocked him out of that fight. So Wineland was forced to wait to see how long the recovery would be and if the UFC would keep him in the interim title fight or have him fight someone else in the meantime.
Although Wineland and Barao were set to headline UFC 161, they'll be in the co-feature in Toronto fighting underneath light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who defends his title against Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of the pay-per-view showing.
That actually could translate into more eyeballs on Wineland and Barao since Jones is one of the UFC's top pay-per-view draws.
"I think a co-main with Jones is great exposure," Wineland said. "I'm super excited. I've stayed in good shape since the cancellation of the last one, so the starting platform for this camp is going to be even higher. Long story short, I'll be ready to reclaim what was originally mine."
Barao won the interim title in June 2012 after champion Dominick Cruz was forced from a title fight against Urijah Faber with a knee injury. Now, two surgeries later, he still is unsure of when he will be back. But it is possible the Barao-Wineland winner will go on to a title unification fight against Cruz sometime in 2014.
Wineland won the 135-pound title for World Extreme Cagefighting in 2006, but lost the belt in his first title defense shortly after UFC owners Zuffa purchased the WEC. With the WEC's merger into the UFC in late 2010, Wineland essentially will be fighting for the title he was first to hold – a belt that also was won and defended by East Chicago native Miguel Torres.
Wineland gets his crack at Barao on a two-fight win streak in 2012, including a "Fight of the Night" bonus-winning knockout of Scott Jorgensen a little more than a year ago. Barao, though, has won 30 straight fights. The Brazilian is regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.