Clifford Starks Plans To Give Ed Herman A “Reason To Respect” His Striking
By Kelsey Mowatt
Following a successful UFC debut last October, when the undefeated Clifford Starks worked his way to a unanimous decision win over Dustin Jacoby, the prospect informed FCF that he hoped to be “within contention of a title” by the end of 2012. Not long after, the promotion announced that Starks would face veteran middleweight Ed Herman on the main card of this Saturday’s UFC 143 event, presenting him the established opponent and high profile fight he’d been hoping for.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” the undefeated Starks (8-0) told FCF recently, “I was kind of surprised about it. He’s always calling out top ten fighters, so where he’s at on the totem pole and where I’m at, I didn’t think he’d accept a fight with me. So I appreciate the fact that he gave me the opportunity to fight him and I just want to put on a great performance.”
“I’m not really thinking about that,” Starks added, when asked to assess what might come next for him, provided he defeats Herman on February 4th. “I’m just focusing on Ed Herman. He’s a tough guy and he’s going to come to fight, so I’ll think about what’s next after I fight him.”
Herman (19-8) is coming off back-to-back victories over Tim Credeur and most recently Kyle Noke, after losing to Aaron Simpson in August, 2009. After Herman dropped the first round to the accomplished wrestler, a knee injury brought the bout to a close shortly into round two.
“I think it definitely helps me and gives me a mental edge,” said the former NCAA Division 1 wrestler, while discussing his extensive grappling experience and how it might match up with the abilities of Herman. “I don’t want to take it for granted either, because I’m sure he knows my background, so he’s going to be practicing that much harder to execute his own game plan.”
“I’ve spoken with Aaron,” Starks noted, when asked if he’s talked to his fellow Arizona fighter about Herman. “He basically said to fight my fight. He kept it simple…I know each fight is different and he’s probably learned from the mistakes he made in that fight, so I’m looking to see an even better Ed Herman then was in that fight with Aaron.”
During Herman’s UFC tenure, the 31 year-old veteran has used strikes or submissions to score victories over several experienced competitors, including Joe Doerksen and Scott Smith.
“I really think he’s going to try to keep it standing,” said the 30 year-old Starks, who has earned four stoppage wins since transitioning into professional MMA in 2009. “I don’t think he respects my stand-up too much, and I just have to give him a reason to respect it.”
And as far as Stark’s prediction on whether the fight will be a short or prolonged battle?
“He’s a tough character so it’s probably going to be a three round war.”