Ed Herman never thought he'd be here again.
Two years ago, he was considering calling it quits after reinjuring his knee during a sting of rehabilitation and trying to get back to the Octagon too early. It was as disheartening of a situation as one can possibly imaging.
But "Short Fuse" didn't stay down for too long. He worked extra hard in creating his own gym in Colorado and then focused on himself, improving his stand-up and Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique. By the time he returned to the UFC last year, he was a well-oiled machine.
That solid run in the 185 pound division has earned him a huge opportunity as The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season three finalist will be taking on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields in his return to the division later tonight (August 11, 2012) on the UFC 150 main card.
Herman was recently a guest on Bloody Elbow Radio where he discussed finally getting attention after a career of being overlooked, whether Jake Shields is more dangerous at 185 or 170 pounds and what he has to do to be victorious later tonight.
Check it out:
Matt Bishop: Coming back from your knee injury, you've racked up wins against Tim Credeur, Kyle Noke and now Clifford Starks. Your upcoming opponent, Jake Shields, is a step up from those three. Do you feel that you're ready for that step up at this point coming off the injury?
Ed Herman: I am definitely ready at this point. I've been competing at a high level most of my career and the few losses that I do have have been controversial decisions or fights I thought I was winning before I made a little mistake against Maia and whatnot.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you feel like with all this talk of Chris Weidman, the Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann fight, Tim Boetsch against Hector Lombard and Alan Belcher vs. Vitor Belfort, do you feel like your right here is getting overlooked?
Ed Herman: I've been overlooked my whole career and I've always been the underdog so that's been the norm for me but if I go out there and put it on Shields, it'll be pretty hard for people to keep overlooking me. I feel like that would be my next big step to making a run as a title contender as one of those names.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Jake Shields had a really nice run in Strikeforce. He beat Dan Henderson of all people, but he hasn't looked so great in the UFC at welterweight. None of his wins have looked that impressive. Do you think he's better off at middleweight?
Ed Herman: I think for sure. Watching his tape and following his career, he's definitely performed better by far as a middleweight. I'm expecting the best Jake Shields that anybody's ever seen so I'm prepared for that.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You say that watching the tape, he's better at middleweight, so what is the difference for him at middleweight? Is it not having to cut as much weight? What's the difference?
Ed Herman: It's hard to say, man. Cutting weight can affect your cardio and gas tank. At 170, he's fought some guys that are maybe a little bit faster than him and he'll have that speed factor back I think. Middleweights aren't quite as fast as welterweights. I don't know exactly what it is, but to me, he's definitely performed better as a middleweight.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're coming off a solid performance against Clifford Starks, but you also broke your hand in that fight. What was the recovery process like for you?
Ed Herman: It was a pain in the butt because I had to have surgery on my thumb have this cast on for like nine weeks and on my opposite hand, I tore a tendon in my middle finger so I had to have a splint on my middle finger for nine weeks so both my hands were tied up for a little while there. I did legwork and footwork drills and just tried to stay in shape with the rest of my body. You try to get healed up the best you can from injuries. Sometimes it's nice to get a break. It lets your body heal up and gives you an opportunity to have a few cold ones with your friends and family instead of diving straight into another training camp.
Matt Bishop: How did you get through daily life with both hands tied up for nine weeks?
Ed Herman: Well it wasn't that bad. I just had my middle finger on my left hand so I could still wipe my ass and all that good stuff (laughs). It was hard at first getting used to doing simple things that you take for granted.
Matt Bishop: Who have you been grappling with to help prepare for Jake Shields' ground game?
Ed Herman: Actually, I've just been watching old Steven Seagal videos. (laughs) I've been training with a lot of good guys in Colorado, some of the best black belts in the state. There's a ton of black belts and I brought my old coach from Team Quest, Chris Leben who's got a really underrated ground game. I feel like I've been rolling with guys who are just as good if not better on the ground.
Matt Bishop: Why do you think you're so underrated and underappreciated? You're on a pretty decent win streak but you get no love when talk of title contenders is brought up?
Ed Herman: It's hard to say. I'm a ginger. We've been discriminated for a long time. (laughs) I don't know. I don't talk a lot of trash really. It's hard to say. Guys like Bisping talks a lot and sells a lot of tickets. Plus I was gone for like two years. A lot of people probably don't know who I am really. except for this last three fight win streak. I don't feel like I deserve a shot yet. I think I need two or three more big wins, not that I wouldn't take a title shot if asked. If you're not looking for a title shot,k you're in the wrong sport. I feel like all my fights are exciting. I bring it every time. I'm looking to finish so that says something.
Matt Bishop: What's the biggest difference between the Ed Herman of today and the Ed Herman of six years ago?
Ed Herman: You know, after I blew my knee out twice, had three surgeries over a two year span of 22 months, I thought my career might be over. People dream of this. Being that close of losing that made me mentally refocus. A lot of it is mental. You hear about the mental side of the game and that makes a huge difference. I've been peaking physically at the right time. I've been training smarter and again, just being focused and trying to just enjoy this and make a run.