By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Cutting weight through the holiday season can't be an enjoyable experience, and for the most of the 24 fighters on Saturday's UFC 155 event Las Vegas it means a less than ideal Christmas week. However, for Brad Pickett at least, it's not really a concern to him, and he enters his fight with Eddie Wineland just thankful he's entirely healthy.
"A job is a job," Pickett said in a recent interview with MMAFighting.com. "Since both of my parents are deceased, Christmas has never been a big thing to me. It's not that I don't celebrate the holiday, don't get me wrong. But I'm not worried that I can't eat what I want. For me, I just want to keep fighting and stay healthy. I wanted three fights this year. I'm healthy. I'm not getting any younger and would like to fight when I'm healthy."
"Knock on wood, really. For once, I haven't had any injuries. I don't remember the last time I went into a fight without something really bad. It's helped me to train better. In my last camp, I really hurt my hand, really hurt my ribs. My training sucked. I did light training, and it sucked. I trained through it. Now I'm really enjoying training and when you enjoy it, you learn more. I'm still learning. I can learn a lot from Mike Brown (former WEC featherweight champion)."
After his knockout loss to Renan Barao in November of last year, Pickett has rebounded quite well in 2012, submitting Damacio Page and knocking out Yves Jabouin in his two Octagon appearances this year. He's hoping to cap that off with one more statement win over Eddie Wineland, which will give him an opportunity to emerge as a top contender once again in 2013.
"Basically, this fight now could cap off a great year for me and pave the way for my new year," he said. "If I win, next year looks completely different than if I lose. If I win, I'd like to do a fight against the winner of [Michael] McDonald vs. Barao... I've been in this position a couple of times before, or thereabouts, and before I was thinking it would be a case where Barao would wait for [Champion Dominick] Cruz. But now Cruz will be out for a long time. It does leave it wide open for me and Wineland. It makes sense."
"I don't like to look into it too much. With Barao vs. McDonald in London (where Pickett is from), I can watch the fight and do some P.R. But that's looking past Wineland which I never want to do. He's a tough opponent. I have to make sure I win and good things will happen."
Penick's Analysis: Despite the loss to Barao last year, Pickett remains one of the most exciting fighters to watch in the 135 lb. division, and if he can pick up a win over Wineland on Saturday night, he'll be one of the top names coming into the new year. A rematch with Barao will still likely need to wait another fight or two if Barao gets past McDonald, but if he improves and brings a different gameplan into a rematch, he just might perform better than he did last year. Regardless, Wineland is the fight in front of him, and it's a major matchup for the UFC's end-of-the-year fight card.
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