View Full Version : Yves Edwards super interview

19-08-2004, 11:48
1 van mn favo vechters, neem de tijd het is een big one


A few weeks back, I had the pleasure to interview one of MMA's best fighters and friendliest cats around. In what was a highly-entertaining interview, Yves Edwards shed some light on his opponent this Saturday, Josh Thomson, the fledgling lightweight division, and how hard it is to get some respect as a little guy. Always a down to earth guy, Edwards spoke candidly about his gripe with the lack of respect and recognition the 155-pound division gets.

So you are scheduled to fight "The Punk," Josh Thomson. What are your thoughts on him as a person?

My thoughts of Josh as a person? He's cool. I met him in, like, 1999 and we fought on a couple cards together since then. We've always been cordial to each other. I think we're almost friends, you know? I think he's a nice guy. He trains with some guys I know and I've only heard good things, so I think he's a nice guy.

What do you think of him as a fighter?

I think he's really good. He's in the top ten and I think he should be there. He's a very good fighter and he's fought some tough guys and he's fought some nobodies. But every top guy has to do that to get to this point. His record speaks for itself and his style speaks for itself. I think he's a really good fighter. I think his style matches up well with mine as far as the excitement factor. Shoot, I have nothing but good things to say about him.

In the mixed martial arts world, you are a very well known fighter. Josh somewhat is, but isn't as well known as you -- at least in my opinion he isn't. Do you think he is underrated?

That's a good question. I wouldn't say that he's underrated because everybody who knows him knows how good he is. I think he's underexposed. He's fought twice in the UFC and had really great fights, but they've never made it onto TV. I think it has something to do with his metabolism and him weighing 155 pounds. I think he deserves more recognition, I mean who doesn't? I don't think he's underrated because everybody knows exactly how good he is. Nobody shorts him on credit.

Everybody knows who you are, but I have been saying for quite some time now that you, along with Jeremy Horn, are underrated. Do you agree with that?

Oh man, I don't know. That's everybody's opinion, you know what I mean? I can care less if everybody's like, "Oh, Yves Edwards sucks," or " Yves Edwards is great," or whatever. It doesn't really matter. I love it when people are entertained and to like my fights and fighting style. If they don't, that's great; don't watch or find something else to do. Or watch the guy you want to win get beat up because I'm going to beat somebody's ass.

I also feel that your striking ability is overlooked. Heavy hitters like BJ Penn, Pedro Rizzo and Robbie Lawler seem to get all the credit, but you never do. What do you think?

To some degree, yes, I think so. But that's only by the fans. The guys that I fight all know about my striking because they all shoot for the takedowns. They know exactly what's going to happen if they go toe-to-toe with me -- they are going to get knocked out. They've got to be able to take me down to stand a chance. My takedown defense is good, my escape from the ground is good, so the longer they can keep the fight on the ground, the better chance they have. But at the same time, my jiu jitsu is good and constantly getting better. I don't think my standup is underrated because everybody that I fight, they know; they expect it. They know exactly what's going to happen if they stand in front of me.

You and Josh both fought Hermes Franca. I was there live for both fights. Hermes had the big flurry at the end against Josh, but I still gave the fight to Josh. But with your fight live, I felt that Hermes won. The crowd booed both decisions. Do you think it is fair to you and Josh when people feel that Hermes should be in line for a title shot and not either one of you?

Well, a lot of that is personal. Not where it's not liking me or Josh, but this sport is so small right now. I mean, you got your jiu jitsu guys and they can't see past the jiu jitsu like they can't see what's past the end of their nose. To some degree, some of them are just straight up stupid (laughs) and some of them are just blind. It's like, "Oh, he's doing jiu jitsu! He grabbed his leg! He should win the fight!" I've been on the Internet and I've seen some guys screaming about Verrisimo getting robbed and that's just ridiculous. Charuto lost that fight (versus Matt Hughes). The scoring was stupid because I think he lost the last two rounds after winning the first, but he didn't win the fight. That's just the jiu jitsu guys talking, though. There are a lot of jiu jitsu guys in the world who are straight up brainwashed; they have no idea what real fighting is all about. They think that all you gotta do is hug somebody and you should win. It's just ridiculous; those guys are pathetic.

Why was your fight with Hermes so close? Did you take him lightly or is he just that good?

Yeah, it was really close and I felt that way, also. I felt that I won the first round and I knew that I lost the second round. I thought I lost it by a lot, but it actually didn't look so bad after watching it on tape. I thought it was going to look a lot worse than what it did after watching it. I knew I lost the second round, but I felt real confident before, during and after the third round. I felt real confident about the fact that I won. Hermes is a really good fighter.

I didn't look past him or anything like that. His style is really deceptive. If you watch him on tape, he looks small, stocky and slow and awkward. You know he's going to be strong, but he is a lot faster than he looks. It may just be that his timing is really good, but his shots seemed a lot faster than how they looked at any other time that I watched him. He stepped it up -- at least I think he stepped it up -- and he made the fight a thinking man's fight. We both had to be on top of our games and we both had to be thinking constantly. That fight was more tactical than any other fight [I've had]. It wasn't like a straight-up brawl or that it was brutal; it was a real tactical fight.

I think that is a credit to his brain power because I consider myself a real smart fighter; I've gotten compliments on it and I agree with that. I don't know about the rest of the world, but he proved to me that he's a very smart fighter. There is a possibility of he and I being matched up again and I think it'll take a step up from that last fight just because now we have an idea on each other's games. Now the minds are working, the wheels are turning.

Let's switch gears back to Thomson. He seems to always get hurt during training. He is like the MMA version of Lenny Dykstra. Are you preparing yourself at all for the possibility that he may get injured again and you will have a different opponent?

I hope he does not get hurt. I don't want that to happen and I don't wish that on anyone. Plus the fact that I am training specifically for Josh and on top of that, I'm fighting the one other guy in MMA that deserves to be basically fighting for the belt. I know it's not officially for the title, but I don't care what anybody says, the guy who wins this fight is the UFC lightweight champion. Screw everybody else who says it is not for the belt or whatever. The guy who wins this fight should be the UFC lightweight champ. I hope he doesn't get hurt because while we may not be recognized after this fight, one of us will be the true champion.

Say for some reason Josh does get hurt, would you be willing to fight another opponent if Zuffa asks you to?

That's a good question. I don't know necessarily what I'd do. I guess it would depend on how close to the fight it is (Editor's note: this interview was conducted several weeks ago). I'm not one to be known to back out of a fight or whatnot, but if the fight is a week away and it would be against a guy whose style is completely different from Josh's and I have no tape or have never seen the guy fight before, at this point in my career, it wouldn't be smart to fight. It'd be the dumbest thing that I could do. But at the same time, I want to fight. I've been training real hard and I want to fight. It's like you gotta catch 22 punches or something because there is really no win.

Going back to the UFC title situation. Has anybody at Zuffa mentioned anything to you about a title shot if you win?

Man, it's crazy, you know what I mean? (laughs) The last mention that I ever heard of a title shot was that if I beat Hermes, Josh and I would probably fight for the title. I was looking forward to that. Now me and Josh are fighting, but there is no title. I haven't heard anything about the winner of this fight winding up fighting for a title. This situation is really going nowhere. If I beat Josh, who else there qualified to fight me in the UFC? If they bring someone in from the outside, sure the hardcore grassroots fans know Shaolin Ribeiro, Gomi, of course BJ, but BJ has been banned for -- I don't know why -- but anyway (chuckles in disbelief). But BJ's been banned and there is just nobody else deserving of a title shot. The only other person who deserves a title shot, actually, is Hermes. But right now, both Josh and I hold a win over him. There is no reason for us to fight each other and then the winner gets him. He's the only other guy who deserves a title shot right now.

You can argue that Jens Pulver could return since he was the last champ at lightweight plus you can argue about Genki Sudo getting a title shot. Matt Serra and Caol Uno don't really deserve a shot and the same goes for Duane Ludwig.

Yeah, not right now. The lightweight division is like a stepchild. It's like we're not respected. It's just ridiculous. It's frustrating, man. It's like ... I don't know, man. I'm to the point where I'm just like, "Put someone in front of me so I can just beat him up."

But with that said, do you think the division is really worthy of a title? If there is nobody who deserves a title shot, then why should there be a championship bout?

I think it is worthy of a title. The reason why is because you can always build contenders. The 155-pound division is stacked. You can take the top 20 guys in the weight class and anyone of those guys can be a goner on any given day under the right circumstances. Let's say that Josh and I fight and it's for the title and I win it. Shoot, Josh can fight Hermes again for the No. 1 spot for a rematch. You can bring in anybody. I heard a lot about this Brian Shultz guy. He's supposed to be really good and he can make 155.

Anybody can come in from Shooto, too.

Anybody from Shooto! Shaolin, Gomi, anybody can come over here. Mishima, there are so many guys, man, it's ridiculous. It's the deepest talent pool in the world but, oh, because the fights go the distance [it's no good]. I mean guys at 155 pounds are really smart and really active. It's not like some of those heavyweight fights where it's just ridiculously boring and stupid. Heavyweight fights are very hard to watch. We get no respect because why? Our metabolism is faster? It makes no sense. I'm trying to understand it, but I can't so I stopped trying to figure it out.

If Shooto offered you equal or more money and a title shot, would you fly the coop and fight over there?

I would love to fight the ... I want to fight the best guys around and I want to get paid to do it. This is my career. There is no contract on the table, though. I love the UFC and everybody there. I love fighting in the show and I always have a good time there. My problem is that, especially as far as I'm concerned, there is really no job security. It's hard to be a fighter and it's especially hard to be a lightweight right now because nobody cares about you. I don't know. It's just really, really hard, man.

I agree. Take Ludwig. He comes in and knocks out Pulver who was the best lightweight on the planet. Then he comes to the UFC and struggles in a great fight with Sudo and hasn't been back since. Then you have a guy like Wes Simms who gets disqualified, then knocked out and then they brought him back, only to get knocked out again. Then Phil Baroni loses four times (three in a row) and yet he will be fighting again.

Yeah. It's hard, man. We lightweights put on a good show, you know? I don't know of any lightweights who go out there and just run their mouth ridiculously or have all the flash like Baroni. We can't get paid, we can't get on TV. Who is going to want to see the lightweights if they never see them? I don't understand the logic in not putting the lightweights on TV, but people don't want to see them. It's kinda odd.

What I'm thinking is that maybe because Jens was so dominant, but many of his fights were boring. He won all the time, but his fights weren't exactly exciting. He goes and beats BJ, who is exciting, but people still didn't want to watch him. Maybe Zuffa thinks that nobody wants to watch the lightweight because the best, most dominant guy in the world at the time never gained the fanbase like Tito or Baroni. When he left, nobody seemed to care so maybe Zuffa just put the figures together that nobody cares about lightweights period. What do you think?

You know, you can make that argument but then again, styles make fights. Jens has probably the sickest takedown defense in MMA. Basically, I have seen Jens taken down two or three times and I have seen all of his fights. Nobody is going to take that guy down, but they kept putting him in the cage against guys who only wanted to take him down. So of course it's going to be a boring fight because he's not going to get a chance to let his hands go because guys are trying to take him down. But they never can take him down because it's basically impossible. So what are you doing? Put that guy in there with somebody like me or Bang or Din Thomas -- someone who is going to throw hands with him. It's going to be an exciting fight because somebody is going to get knocked out or somebody is going to get cut, bloodied and beat up. It's going to be exciting. If Jens has to defend takedowns for 25 minutes, then there is not much to that.

Whenever I spoke with Jens before the Ludwig fight, he was always telling me how badly he wanted to fight a striker. Jens didn't care about getting knocked out because he just wanted to go toe-to-toe with someone solid.

Yeah, I don't know. Styles make fights and if you want to make exciting fights, then you match up the right styles. I know it is easier to say this from where we are sitting, but at the same time, you have every fighter in the U.S. who wants to fight on your show. So it's not like it'll be a difficult task to find someone to fit that mold, to fight the kind of fight that you need to happen. You can build a good striker and get him up to the point where he's fighting Jens and then that's a great fight. Then Jens wins or he loses or whatever, but you will at least have an exciting title fight. I mean, it's just the way it works. There are a lot of guys like Sean Sherk. He lost one fight in the UFC, which was to Matt Hughes, the top dog around. Now Sherk is gone. There are guys like Baroni -- and I like Baroni, he's a good guy but he just runs his mouth -- but he's lost four times to Team Quest and accidentally beat Suloev. Now Menne, he jacked him up, but the Suloev thing, come on. But Baroni is in there over and over and over and over again and making good money.

Baroni's style is what the fans all want but it seems that most of the time, the American MMA fan is enamored by the trash talk.

Exactly. But then you get to the point where you get into the UFC and you are concerned where you have to be exciting. It's not like it's just a thought in your head and it's okay; it's like you know. You have to be exciting. Everybody knows it and it has been said. If you lose a fight, you are not coming back. If you win the fight but are not exciting, you're not coming back. So you've got all this bull on your mind, then you gotta go out there and fight. When you are a promoter and have a guy fighting, you should want to make that guy as comfortable as possible and let him go out there and put his thing on the line. If he doesn't then let him deal with the consequences then, but don't put that shit in his face like right then and there. Man, it's ridiculous.

And when a fighter goes and fights out of his natural element, chances are high that he'll get beaten and then for sure he won't come back.

Yeah. It's real hard because guys work so hard to get to this point, to fight in the UFC, and they don't want to lose that. You have to worry about not coming back if you lose a fight, then you gotta go out there and win the fight! You don't want to make any mistakes. People are pretty wide open in the gym where they do things that they wouldn't do in a fight. But when it comes time to fight, you take some risks. Not any stupid mistakes, but you take some risks. The more you are worried about not being able to work another day, the less risks you are going to take.

If you lose to Josh, how impossible will it be for you to get back into the UFC? Not in terms of a title shot, but how crucial is this fight to you?

Ah man. I don't want to lose any fights, of course. No real fighter does. I honestly couldn't tell you. I don't know; I could have said something that made somebody upset (laughs). But I don't know. If I lost this fight ... I don't know. I never even considered losing this fight. You might have to ask me this question tomorrow because I have to think about that.

Alright, alright. Can you think about this one right now? What is your prediction on Randy Couture/ Vitor Belfort III?

I like both of those guys. They are both real good fighters. I don't know. I just think that Couture is something special and I think that if Vitor is not wearing those same gloves as last time, Randy takes the fight.

22-08-2004, 14:23
na zn leuke optreden gister avond zijn er vast wel mensen die dit willen lezen.

22-08-2004, 16:08
Ik zie zijn megakick al in je avatar :thumbs: