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One year after shocking knockout, Johnny Eduardo finally cleared to fight

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Johnny Eduardo shocked the world last May by knocking out Eddie Wineland in the first round, but since has been sidelined with injuries.

The Nova Uniao bantamweight, who has only fought three times in the UFC and cancelled three other bouts since signing with the promotion in 2011, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, and is finally cleared to return to training.

"I’m back to training, waiting for an opportunity to return, but the UFC is looking for the best fight for me," Eduardo told journalists in Brazil. "I’m ready to brawl. I’m sure ‘Dede’ is looking for the right things for me, the best date and opponent."

Eduardo’s manager and coach Andre Pederneiras expects to see him back in action around July or August, and the bantamweight wants to face top competition after back-to-back wins over Wineland and Jeff Curran.

"I’m ready for anyone the UFC wants," Eduardo said. "'Do you want to fight in six weeks? In two months?’ I’m in. I don’t care if you are a top three, four, or five. I want to brawl, I want to work. I need to work.

"The UFC won’t give me an easy fight," he continued. "They will give me the toughest opponent possible because they like to see Brazilians suffer, but we work hard and put on great fights. That’s exactly what I’m expecting. I still have a lot to show in the UFC. I haven’t showed anything yet."

Wineland was ranked No. 4 in the division before the devastating loss in May, and Eduardo’s coach wants to see the 36-year-old MMA veteran making a run to the title.

"I don’t see anyone in this division where I can say ‘Johnny can't beat him’," Pederneiras said. "He can beat anyone in this division, so I want the best opponent possible for him, from the top of the ranking. If they can give him a guy close to title contention, that’s even better."

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