Daniel Pineda roared back to the UFC with a TKO finish of Herbert Burns at UFC 252, but he was worried that he would not be permitted to follow through with his comeback.
Pineda (27-13) rallied from a tough first round to finish Burns (11-3) with elbows from the crucifix position late in round two. Pineda suffered a cut on his eye in round one and told Fightful he was worried the ringside doctor may have waved the fight off.
"I've been through that already with the cut on my eye. I was winning a fight, it was going into the third round. I got a cut on my eye and they stopped it," Pineda said. "I was thinking about it the whole time. I was hoping it wasn't that big but it was pretty freaking big. It was 18 stitches."
It is possible Pineda would have been ruled unable to continue had the fight lasted another 23 seconds. The previous doctor stoppage loss Pineda referred to was against Georgi Karakhanyan at Bellator 182. Touching on the fight-ending sequence against Burns, Pineda expects the crucifix position to blow up like Travis Browne elbows and calf kicks.
"Oh yeah, I think so. I think a lot of people are going to start using it a lot more. It's not that easy to get into it, but once you get in it's hell to get out," he explained. "Your elbows are right there. You can throw your hands at them but you'll get more power from the elbows. Throw the elbows."
Pineda was awarded a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus, a perfect way to celebrate the arrival of his newborn baby daughter.
"It felt awesome. I told my wife I was going for a bonus. That's the way I fight. I fight to finish fights and to try and make as much money as I can. So bonuses. Every time you see me fight, I'm going for bonuses," Pineda expressed. "It's always been money to me. Trying to have more. I want more. I always want more no matter what."
Pineda is currently on his second UFC tenure and offered advice for young up-and-comers.
"Don't be so eager to just jump into the UFC. If you're 19, 20 or 21, you're going to jump into the UFC and two fights late you're going to get your ass kicked and you're going to be back on the regional shows. Take your time, train hard and take a couple tough fights. There is a lot of cherry picking. That's where you get all these good records. Then they go in the UFC and get their asses kicked. Guess what's going to happen next? Go back and get a regular job," he advised. "I never cherry picked, I just fought whoever was in front of me."
As for what is next, Pineda would like to compete on the November 28 Fight Night card headlined by his good friend, Derrick Lewis.
"I will fight if I can with Derrick on his card, I'd like to get on that card," he shared. "If that doesn't happen I'm going to wait until all this COVID stuff stops and wait for all the fans to get back in the stadium and then I'll fight again."