A battle between former WEC champs is brewing for the UFC's third trip to New Jersey.
Urijah Faber (24-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), once tops in the featherweight class before his reinvention as a bantamweight, is expected to meet Eddie Wineland (18-6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), the first-ever 135-pound champion, at UFC 128.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
) that at least one fighter has agreed to the planned matchup, which was first reported by MMAFighting.com.
Although not officially announced by the promotion, UFC 128 takes place March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark and is expected to feature a light-heavyweight headliner between champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and former champ Rashad Evans.
The bantamweight bout marks the UFC debut of Faber and Wineland, who were both victorious in their final obligations to the WEC before the promotion officially ceded its talent to the industry leader.
Faber met former contender Takeya Mizugaki at WEC 52 in his first bout as a bantamweight and cinched a first-round rear-naked choke that won him "Submission of the Night" honors.
Wineland slammed his way out of the WEC with an ode to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson earlier this month in the promotion's final event, WEC 53. Newcomer Ken Stone made the unwise move of pulling a standing guard on the Indiana native in the first round of their preliminary-card meeting and found himself violently introduced to the canvas and knocked out.
The sensational finish capped off a four-fight streak for Wineland, who became the first WEC bantamweight champion when he knocked out Antonio Banuelos for the belt at WEC 20. (He subsequently lost the strap to Chase Beebe when he returned the next year to the Zuffa-owned promotion.)
Faber vs. Wineland is likely to take place on UFC 128's televised main card, though its placement could not be confirmed at the time of this writing.