Yves Edwards Says He Needs “To Fight Smart” Against Heavy Handed Jeremy Stephens, Believes “Everybody, Me and Him Included” Should Enjoy Bout
By Kelsey Mowatt
Earlier this year, Yves Edwards–and any fan that enjoys watching striking filled bouts– was looking forward to taking on noted lightweight Donald Cerrone. Unfortunately for the “Thugjitsu Master”, however, an arm injury sent him to the sidelines and Jeremy Stephens was brought in.
Of course, in Stephens, the UFC elected to bring in yet another opponent who has never shied away from a stand-up battle. With the memorable fight now in the record books, and Cerrone having scored the unanimous decision win, the UFC has matched Edwards up against the man who replaced him.
“I don’t know how to respond to that,” said Edwards, when asked what he could read, if anything, into the UFC’s decision process to have him fight Stephens next. “Jeremy’s tough, and yeah, styles make fights. Donald didn’t make him look good, but at the same time, he fought the whole way through and he was fighting through an injury.”
“I think he said he fractured his orbital in the first round,” Edwards furthered about Stephens. “So you watch it, you try to take as much as you can from it, but at the same time, anybody’s whoever fought through an injury know’s that you’re definitely a different person when you get hurt…as far as the reasoning behind the fight, I just think it’s an entertaining fight on paper and should translate into pretty much the same thing in reality.”
Stephens will be looking to reverse a two fight losing skid, as the powerful pugilist is coming off back-to-back decision losses to feared kickboxers in Anthony Pettis and Cerrone. Before the losses, however, “Lil Heathen” scored wins over two more noted strikers in Danny Downes and Marcus Davis.
“I’m excited about it too you know,” said Edwards, who hasn’t fought since last December when he dropped a unanimous decision to TUF winner Tony Ferguson. “I want to fight really good guys, and with the UFC, everybody at 155 is really tough…It’s hard to not get up for a fight at this level and this weight. I’ve been working hard and I’m ready to put on a show. Everybody, everybody, me and him included, should at least enjoy it for the most part.”
Cerrone was able to avoid the one punch, knockout power of Stephens and utilized an array of weapons to outscore his opponent for the UD win. While Edwards sees some differences between himself and Cerrone, he concedes that the bout provided him with some insights as to what he needs to do Friday.
“In some ways yes,” Edwards (41-18) told Full Contact Fighter. “That’s the same thing for every fight; even in the fights that he won, there’s some things that the other guy did well. You try to take from that, and then watch his progression, and try to find things he may see in himself and correct.”
“It’s a little tricky though, because it’s a completely different stance,” added Edwards, who prior to facing Ferguson, TKO’d Rafaello Oliveira at a UFC Live card last October. “Cerrone’s an orthodox fighter and I’m a southpaw, and he’s a little bit taller. So, I’ve just watched the tape, picked things apart, and see where he had some success…I think he’ll have the advantage if he turns it into a slugfest, so I need to fight smart the whole way through.”
After fighting four times in 2011, Edwards has yet to compete in 2012 due to his aforementioned arm injury, which makes the UFC on FX 5 bout that much more compelling.
“This is the third time where an injury has kept me out for a long time,” said Edwards. “It’s a really exciting time because you’re getting ready to go, but all that down time is so miserable. You have to watch guys, and sees guys that you compete against, it makes your mouth water. It makes you hungry for it…The injury itself is completely healed up. I feel great.”
UFC on FX 5 will be hosted by the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and will be broadcast on FX.