Yves Edwards Interview Part 1
By Keith Mills
On October 15th at the Tropicana in Atlantic City Euphoria MFC holds their second show, this time with the first rounds of tournaments in the lightweight and heavyweight divisions. FCF readers are probably already familiar with Loretta Hunt’s in-depth reporting on this show. Now we get to hear from lightweight competitor Yves Edwards.
Yves is Full Contact Fighter’s #3 ranked lightweight, former HOOKnSHOOT Welterweight Champion, and an eight-time UFC vet. Eight videos are available in the FCF shop, including his fights in King Of The Cage, SuperBrawl, Extreme Challenge, and HOOKnSHOOT as well as some of his UFC fights. In this October show he faces ZST vet Naoyuki Kotani.
FCF: What do you think of Kotani?
YE: I think his stand-up is horrible. He comes in with his head way up in the air, he can only move in straight lines, and his takedowns are not that great. I don’t know how good his ground is going to be in this situation. I’ve been watching tapes of him and studying him and he’s been fighting in these girl fight shows where there are no punches to the face and that changes the world. It’s easier for leglocks when they can’t punch you in the face. I’m going through a lot right now and I think I’m going to release some aggression.
FCF: I haven’t seen tape of Kotani but Rich Clementi commented ‘he hits hard’ while I think it was Alberto Crane mentioned his boxing is underrated. Is he more than just a leglock on the ground specialist? Did you see anything in his stand-up?
YE: I don’t know but his stand-up looks horrible. I had to turn the television off it was so bad, just ugly. I don’t know if they are being nice or just saying the guy hits hard and just giving him credit for that. He looks like the Statue of Liberty. His chin is up in the air, he’s standing up straight, only moving in straight lines…horrible. That is where I’m going to try to keep the fight because I’m going to make him pay.
FCF: You do have a reputation as being one of the fighters that studies their opponents the most, knows the most about their opponents. To me that seems like a huge advantage. How much time does that take to study an opponent?
YE: Takes one good fight. One recent fight and you get a good idea of what the guy is all about. Just one round even of one good fight. I got a good idea of Josh Thomson from the first round of his fight with Hermes (Franca). Then again that is just the first round, you get a lot more information by the time the guy goes the distance, get to see he’s tired. Everybody is good, everybody is strong the first round but as the fight goes on things change and the best guys become guys that aren’t that strong. BJ Penn was awesome his first couple of fights until Jens (Pulver) took him into the second, third, fourth, fifth rounds. The world changed.
FCF: Did studying Thomson for your fight with him have any affect on the fact that was you’re the first fight of yours that ended in the first round in the last two years?
YE: No, more his style bringing it and I didn’t like what he was bringing so I figured I needed to shut this guy up. It’s just his style, he is an aggressive fighter so I had to stay on my toes and constantly try to counter, make him pay for what he was doing. When someone gets hurt the mentality changes, the style changes, and I was trying to hurt him. He puts out a lot of energy early and he was really really strong the first minute or so of that fight but that really started to fade real quick. I don’t know if he tried to cut too much weight or if he is always like that. I saw him fade a little with the Hermes fight but not so fast. I don’t know if it was because I was pushing the pace back at him or trying to counter him as much as I could or he cut too much weight, or our styles just lead to that kind of fight for his body. It’s not studying the tapes that made the fight a quick fight, our styles clashed in that way and at that point my style was the one that was going to win that day.
FCF: As far as the balance between studying an opponent and feeling them out in the first round how much do you rely on feeling them out?
YE: The feeling out process is not something I think about. I go out there and start fighting and of course I want to see ‘what is he going to do with this’. I ask him a bunch of questions and see what answers he gives me. Depending on what answer he gives me then it’s like ‘well, if you are going to do that I’m going to do this’. It is a feeling out process but I’m not trying to feel his strength, weakness, or speed…I’m trying to feel his technique most of all, what is he going to do to stop my offense. I’m trying to get a good feel for that and when I find out what he plans on doing to stop my offense then I know what I need to do to counter his counters or how I need to lead or need to counter.
FCF: To me the Thomson fight being your quickest in the last two years doesn’t mean much but we talked before about decisions. How do you feel about it?
YE: A win is a win. There are not a lot of people that look at my record and say ‘he’s 26-6-1, 15 in the first round, 12 in the second round’…well that would make 27 but you know what I’m saying. It’s not a concern to me. I go out there to fight and I fight to win. I train all the time. I prepare myself for three hard rounds or whatever or for a UFC title it would be five five-minute rounds but we all know how that story is playing out. I just prepare for a long night. First round, that is just a bonus. You train extra hard and you get less injuries to go out and party afterwards.
FCF: At the lower levels I wonder if a fighter did something different in training that resulted in a faster fight but I don’t think that is the case with you. You are training the same as you always have?
YE: Yeah. We always train pretty hard. I know I trained really hard for Hermes Franca and trained probably just as hard for Josh and I had a few things going on then. I probably missed two or three more days of training than I did for Hermes but at the same time because of the level of guys both those times I felt ‘I don’t know if I’m ready, I wished I trained more’. It wasn’t like I took time off or was lazy or anything like that, I trained pretty much every time I could and I have a lot of time to train. When you get to that level of guy you just want to make sure you are ready and it never seems like it is enough.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this interview and keep an eye out for Loretta Hunt’s full report on this show in a future issue of Full Contact Fighter.