Yves Edwards Interview Part 2
By Keith Mills
In part one of this interview with Yves Edwards (see October 11th post) talked about his opponent Kotani. Now he talks more about other lightweights, the rules differences in Euphoria, and his own team.
FCF: As far as there are no elbows allowed in this show is that any concern?
YE: No, I’m not big on throwing elbows. I like them if they are there but that isn’t one of my main tactics. I’ve thrown elbows before and finished some fights with them but it’s no concern. I know the rules. I think I hit just as hard with an elbow as with a fist. An elbow cuts more of course, that is fine. I don’t have to be so close to him to elbow him now.
FCF: You came out of among others HOOKnSHOOT which used Shooto rules and these are basically the same.
YE: Right. The lack of elbows isn’t going to throw me off or anything. It doesn’t change my game much.
FCF: Back when you crossed over to shows like UFC where you could use elbows did that take any effort to add that to your arsenal?
YE: No, because defending elbows is just like defending anything else. If your hands are right in the standup game you are going to defend elbows just as well as punches. As long as your positioning is correct and your hands are right then you aren’t going to be exposed to elbows. On the ground you tie people up at the right time and do the right things and you won’t expose yourself to getting elbowed. It’s the same as exposing yourself to getting punched, you got to use your arms to punch. It all falls under the same spectrum.
FCF: This fight is in a ring with the four corners. Some fighters have said it’s easier to cut somebody off in a ring than in a non-square cage. How do you view this?
YE: Yeah, but if you know how to cut somebody off you can cut somebody off in a circle. If you know how to do it right you can do it. I’m kind of glad to be fighting in a ring again. I fought in a ring pretty much more than anywhere else. I know how to use it the same as a cage. The only difference is it’s going to be harder to ground-and-pound somebody in a ring. You can lay-and-pray but can’t really ground-and-pound a guy that has good ability to stand back to his feet. I’m looking forward to that and think that is an advantage to me because guys are going to want to put me on my back. There is probably one guy in the tournament that doesn’t want to put me on my back. I’m not concerned with it being a ring, I’m actually pleased to see how that will turn out.
FCF: So far the public feedback is you are favored to win but I’m wondering how much of that is they don’t know the other fighters. Hermes Franca, Rich Clementi, and maybe former Shooto Champion Joakim Hansen. How do you feel about the later rounds of this tournament?
YE: I think about ‘this guy might win this fight’ or ‘this guy might win that fight’ but I’m not even thinking about who I’m fighting next. I’m not impressed with Kotani’s standup and don’t know how he is going to be able to handle getting punched in the face on the ground but at the same time I’m not looking past that guy. If he took a fight in this tournament he thinks he can win. I just need to prove him wrong. When I take a step back and look at this tournament as a fan of course I pick myself to win my fight but all those guys are legit. The Russian [Golyaev] is a good striker from what I hear. I’ve seen little clips of his Clementi fight but he has no ground game so that stands against him real strong. The other three guys I look at, Hermes, Rich, and Joakim, are for real. I think the most dangerous one of the three is probably Joakim. At the same time you can’t count any of those guys out, they are for real.
FCF: Have you seen many of Joakim’s fights?
YE: I’ve seen some clips of some of his fights and then we fought on the same show in Japan when he fought Gomi so I saw that one. He is real intense, super intense and violent. That is a good thing. I like watching him fight and wish I could get more. Hopefully I’ll run into him in the tournament. I’ll get a chance to study him of course and after I study him and pick out my things that I’m going to try to use against him and exploit on him then I’ll get a chance to sit back and watch his fights as a fan and enjoy them. That guy is explosive and violent and that is fun to watch.
FCF: For the fans that aren’t familiar with him can you describe the fight you saw, Shooto in August of last year, so the fans know what to expect from this guy?
YE: I don’t know if everybody knows what Joakim is all about. I always thought he was going to be a striker just because he’s from Europe but his jiu-jitsu is phenomenal. He’s a lanky fighter like me but a little more wiry. With that comes some power. The guy isn’t afraid to do anything. I’ve seen him stand up with Gomi and I know Gomi isn’t the greatest as a fighter but is really confident in the standup game. I’ve seen [Joakim] throw with Gomi, saw some nice takedowns, and I’ve seen him work from the top and his back on the ground. The guy is well-rounded all around. Of course his ground game is stronger but I would not sleep on his standup game at all, I would not step into the ring with him thinking my standup is better. My standup is better but I’d have to stay focused or this guy will hurt me. Joakim is one of my favorite fighters at 155 pounds and probably one of my favorite fighters in the world. I think after this tournament they will have a better idea who he is and he is for real.
FCF: This is a really packed card. How do you feel about this show as a whole?
YE: Yeah, it is really. Ryan Schultz also. That guy is supposed to be a monster. Unfortunately I’m going to be the last lightweight that night so I don’t get to really watch everybody else but [matchmaker] Miguel is good about getting tapes to me so I’ll get a good shot at seeing it. Then the heavyweights…I don’t know much about heavyweights or like other weight classes. You can ask me about just about any other 155 fighter and I’ll know who they are but I know like Nogueira, Jens, and Palling at 145…a few of the guys in the UFC at all of the other weights and Pride but that is about it. Like the UFC heavyweights, I don’t even know who those guys are. From what I hear about the heavyweight tournament it is stacked. I just don’t know much about heavyweights. I’d rather watch the lighter weights, they are more exciting. 170 pounders, 155 pounders…I know a lot about those guys, some of the 185 pounders.
FCF: Is it my imagination or have we seen more opportunities for the lightweights in the last couple of months? Soljah Fight Night in Hawaii with Ribeiro a couple moths ago, Extreme Challenge/SuperBrawl tournament series, WEC last I heard had two lightweight titles, AFC of course where Marcus Aurelio originated…Is it my imagination?
YE: I don’t think it’s your imagination at all. People are starting to come around, understand lightweights put on the best fights. Even pro boxing. Take the heavyweight boxing card that has eight heavyweights on it God knows when in the next couple of weeks. Who wants to see that crap? It’s garbage. I don’t care what anybody has to say, heavyweights are garbage. The best heavyweights in the world are in Pride. Then you take Arlovski, he’s probably the best heavyweight in the UFC but everybody else is so one-dimensional it’s like you are watching a Toughman fight with guys with little gloves on. It’s too bad they try to force-feed you this crap too.
FCF: As far as whether the fans want only heavyweights case in point is this tournament. With the Russians coming back and the UFC vets all I see and hear people talking about is the lightweight tournament.
YE: That’s what they want to see. People don’t want to see heavyweights, they want to see knockouts and good fights. Basically they can’t fight, they land a good punch. The lightweights don’t knock each other out as much, not because they don’t have the power but they are more technical and are going to be more on point with their game. Basically heavyweights suck. Take the heavyweights I mentioned, that is about it. Everybody else, unless you are an up-and-comer and aren’t going yet you suck. I don’t care what you think about that.
FCF: As far as your team you had Rocky Long in AFC and I think one other fighter in AFC but not much is known about them. Does your team have anything else coming up?
YE: Rocky Long and Carlo Prater just fought a few months ago in FFC in Mississippi and won their respective weights. Carlo Prater beat Spencer Fisher and Rocky beat Jarret Becks. Becks was the champion at the time and Rocky beat him before in a very close fight and this time Rocky just knocked him out in the very first round, put that one to sleep. They have been working really hard and coming along well. They have a few things on the table. Carlo may be fighting in the next AFC show in Florida [note: October 30th]. Rocky may have a fight in Guam at the end of the month. I train with those guys of course. Timothy Credeur, his jiu-jitsu is just off the chain. I think he’s like 15-1. Then there is an amateur guy named Todd Moore, a real good fighter. He’s going to be training hard, coming out and making a name for himself soon too. [Note: for more on these fighters and Yves' gym the Ultimate Training Center check out www.thugjitsu.com].
FCF: You said you aren’t looking past your opponent Kotani but as far as a next fight but are you looking at a next fight in UFC or the next round in this tournament?
YE: I would like to know there is something else out there. This is my job so if I get to work I get to eat. UFC, it was possible I would fight in the UFC in Japan but of course after beating everybody the UFC put in front of me and not fighting for the title and fighting the only other guy who qualified for the title I still have to win my fight in the Euphoria tournament before I come back to the UFC and fight. Now I don’t know what is going on with that because the fights in Japan aren’t on. I would love to go to Japan and fight Gomi in his show in December, you know they have big cards in Japan in December and I would love to go out there for one of those New Years shows. I would like to fight Gomi out there. I’m not really looking forward to anything else, I’m not looking past this fight but at the same time I would love to have something else on the table. I love fighting and this fight is the main course but you go to a good restaurant and order a good meal, you eat that meal but that doesn’t mean you don’t want desert. That is the way I look at it. The next fight is the main course and the fight after is desert. If I have something on the table I know I’m going to get to eat, going to get to work. I’m definitely available up until the middle of January.