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Rehabilitated and renewed: MMAmania interview exclusive with Ed Herman

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It's been a long road to recovery for Ed Herman.

Months away from the sport: 21. Knee surgeries: 2.

He's finally making his big return this Saturday (June 4, 2011) against a guy who's been away from the cage nearly as long as he has in Tim Credeur on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 Finale in Las Vegas.

"Short Fuse" was last seen inside the Octagon collapsing under his own body weight after throwing a head kick in the direction of UFC middleweight Aaron Simpson

The Ultimate Fighter season three finalist has steadily rehabbed his way back and he spoke with about the tough trip back to the Octagon, his upcoming fight and his brand new gym in Colorado.

Brian Hemminger ( Obviously, you've got the big fight coming up with Tim Credeur. How's it feel to be coming back after being away from the cage for so long? It'll be almost 21 months.

Ed Herman: I'm really excited to come back and fight. I've been training and getting ready for a long time now for this fight. I've had plenty of time to prepare and I just can't wait to finally step back in the cage on Saturday night and throw down. It's been frustrating being off this long, financially and stuff. It's been hard for me and my family and it drives me more to get that fire going. When you train all the time, you get stuck in a rut but I'm excited to be training. I feel great and I'm excited to finally be fighting and the timing is good for another run in the division.

Brian Hemminger ( What sidelined you for so long was that devastating knee injury against Aaron Simpson. How has your knee recovered since then?

Ed Herman: It feels really good. I've been training full speed ahead. My knee feels really good. I had two devastating knee injuries. The first one happened during the Aaron Simpson fight. I hurt it in the first round and answered the bell in the second. That didn't end well for me. I had surgery and everything went really well, got back to training in January of last year and I reinjured it and had to go through all the surgery again. I thought my career was possibly over after the second one. I've recovered really well. Did everything and it feels great now. Everything feels right.

Brian Hemminger ( Even though you knew that you were hurt, can you talk about what it takes to come out and answer the bell in the second round. The mind-set of the fighter.

Ed Herman: I don't know any better. I don't know any different. That's all I know is to keep going until I can't go any more. It's kinda like you're going into battle and it's old school arena, you go until you drop. That's all I know. There was no question in my mind to keep going. I didn't know how bad it was. I knew I was pretty screwed up so I was trying to come out there and finish in the next round but my job is to fight. It's the referee's and the corner's job to stop the fight. 

Brian Hemminger ( Does it give you any comfort knowing you'll be stepping into the cage against Tim Credeur knowing he's a guy that's been away from the cage almost as long as you have?

Ed Herman: I don't know about comfort but it's kinda cool that we've both been off as long as we have and we get matched up like that. With such a long layoff, there's no saying how that's going to affect you. We've both been out about the same amount of time, both coming off losses and both hungry to get in there and win. I think it's gonna be good for both of us and the fans. It's gonna be a scrap. We both fight like that. Credeur comes to bring it, he comes to fight and we found out we're gonna be on the main card too so that's gonna be awesome.

Brian Hemminger ( Credeur's last fight with Nate Quarry was insane. Are you looking to have some crazy, wild scrap like that or you just gonna work the gameplan and take the fight wherever it goes?

Ed Herman: I feel comfortable wherever the fight goes. I feel I can dominate him just about anywhere. I'm ready for a war but of course I'm always looking to go in there and finish him. That's fighting. I'm getting in there to finish him or knock him out. If I knock him out early, that's great for me. It's good to get in, get out and get paid. That's great. I'm prepared for a war and I have a feeling it will be one. 

Brian Hemminger ( He has some pretty solid jiu-jitsu credentials. Do you feel comfortable with him if you go to the ground?

Ed Herman: You know he does have good jiu-jitsu. I've been in there with some of the best in the world on the ground. I've been training with some really good grapplers. Guys who have been helping me a lot with the holes and mistakes I've been making. I can't see Tim really being any better than the guys I've been going with. 

Brian Hemminger ( Can you talk about your new gym? You left Team Quest a while back.

Ed Herman: Yeah I moved out to Colorado and opened a gym out here in northern Colorado in Fort Collins with Ryan Schultz, the IFL champion before they shut down. We've been out here since August. We opened the gym in October and we've been plugging away, working hard, getting the gym rolling. The time off has given me the time to get the ball rolling and get the gym up and going. We had a grand opening this past weekend. Chris Leben and Ian Loveland came out and gave a big free seminar to the public and all the people that train out here. It was a big event. 

Brian Hemminger ( Any last words for the fans?

Ed Herman: I want to thank all the fans and the media for staying behind me for backing me up through these hard times. All the students at the gym and my training partners who've been helping me get ready. My gym is Trials MMA. Follow me on Twitter @EdHermanUFC. The UFC gave us the incentives to get the most Twitter followers in the next couple months so I'm trying to bring my numbers up. Anybody out there that could follow me on Twitter, I'd really appreciate it. I'm not as crafty as Mike Swick and all those guys that don't have kids and have all day to tweet but I try to put some funny stuff on there and keep people updated. Thanks to RevGear for supporting our amateur fighters and to the people who have stood behind me. 

So what do you say, Maniacs?

Does Herman still have a run left in him or has "Short Fuse" detonated?