Over the past three years the UFC has put a strong focus on improving the once depleted heavyweight division. The days of Sylvia and Arlovski trilogies gave way to the era of the behemoth as the upper tier consisted of bodies that had to cut down to make the 265 lb. maximum. The result has been exactly what the UFC had hoped for as stars have emerged to make one of the most visible divisions in the sport more competitive than it has ever been. Now another name can be added to the list as the news broke last week that former Sengoku heavyweight Dave "Pee Wee" Herman had signed with the top organization in the sport. Herman brings with him a 20-2 record that includes a 95% finish rate and this should only stand to make an already exciting division all the more so. I recently caught up with Dave after the announcement was made in his Bloody Elbow Exclusive interview he talked about finally being signed by the UFC.
"I'm pretty happy about it," Herman stated. "It will be nice to know when I am fighting in advance rather than just getting a week's notice."
Herman last saw action at Sengoku's "Soul of the Fight" in December but rumors of the promotion's events falling through were motivation enough for Herman to seek stability elsewhere.
"I never really had any issues with Sengoku other than I wasn't fighting as much as I would have liked to," Herman stated. It came out to about once a year or every 10 months and I need to fight more than that. This was the major issue but other than that I was treated very well the entire time I was there."
By joining the UFC Herman's name is now cast amongst an established roster that includes names like Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos and Brock Lesnar. Where that list could be intimidating to some, Herman seemed up for the challenge.
"I'm actually pretty excited about it," Herman exclaimed. "There are a lot of solid heavyweights in the UFC and I can't wait to see how I match up with them."
The current state of the UFC heavyweight division plays host to an interesting paradox as there are a handful of fighters battling for the crown but there seems to be somewhat of a gap between the upper tier and fighters on the rise. This sets the stage for a fighter to come in and immediately make big things happen in the UFC's heaviest division.
"I don't really have a choice on the matter I don't think so whatever happens I'm in," Herman answered when asked about the impact he's hoping to make. "If they want to shoot me up to the top that's great but I have no problem taking my time either...just as long as I'm working."
Herman has competed at around 250 lbs. for the majority of his fights and while this may be considered a big heavyweight in other organizations, in the UFC it puts him on the smaller side of the fence.
"Heavyweights are all big so you just get used to it," Herman answered when asked if the size of Lesnar and Carwin could be an issue.
Herman's debut has been set for UFC 131 against the rough and tumble veteran Rob Broughton. The Englishman will be coming into the bout riding a five fight win streak which includes a successful UFC debut against Vinicius Queiroz at UFC 120.
"I haven't reviewed him that much yet," Herman replied when asked about Broughton. "I normally don't think about what mine or their strengths are I just go out there and see what happens."
Over the years many experienced fighters have found success outside of the UFC but struggled the first time they stepped into the octagon. The phenomenon has come to be known as "UFC Jitters" and it will be interesting to see if the Fort Wayne Indiana native will be immune.
"I don't worry about stuff like that," Herman answered bluntly. "It's a fight."
Herman's resume boasts an impressive 95% finish rate and he is entering an organization that has a proven track record for rewarding fighters who go out and finish.
"Those bonuses do so pretty appealing I'm not going to lie," Herman replied when asked about the UFC's "Fight Night" bonus system. " It's definitely some extra motivation to train a bit harder."
With the interview coming to a close Herman used the final moments to send a quick message the UFC fan base as he will be looking to make a successful debut at UFC 131 in June.
"Look forward to seeing an exciting fight and hopefully a lot of good stuff will happen here."