When you come from excellent wrestling parentage, have been in the fight game for over a decade, and have as much UFC experience as Ed Herman, it's absolutely insane, at least to me, to see him the underdog going into the vast majority of his fights. This Saturday night, at UFC 150, Short Fuse is once again taking on a very tough opponent with some of the slickest jiu jitsu in MMA. Herman will be the one man welcoming committee for Jake Shields' middleweight debut under the UFC banner, and it comes as no surprise that, as usual, he is not the odds favorite. In a recent TapouT Radio interview, Ed discusses the trend of being the perennial underdog, as well as his thoughts on the middleweight division.
Stephie Daniels: The odds makers have Shields as the heavy favorite going into your fight. Do you feel that people are underestimating you, and more importantly, your ground game?
Ed Herman: I'm used to being the underdog. It doesn't surprise me at all. It suits me well. I like being the underdog. It's a little less pressure. I love spoiling everybody's party. For some reason, people doubt my skills. I've been in the UFC for six years now, and this will be my twelfth or thirteenth fight. People are going to have to eventually recognize once I go in there and put it on Shields.
Stephie Daniels: With a win over Shields, where do you think that puts you in the rankings?
Ed Herman: I think it should move me up into the Top 10, for sure, and put me right there in the mix for a big contender fight. Hopefully, I can get past Shields and get a big fight with one of the Top 5 guys.
Stephie Daniels: Do you sort of feel like the weight is on you to make this an exciting fight?
Ed Herman: Ya know, I don't usually make the decision on if it's going to be a barn burner. That's just how I fight. That said, this fight is going to be exciting. It's not going to be a grappling match. If Jake can take me down and control position and lay on top of me, that will benefit him. The more of a scrap I can make it, it will benefit me. My plan is to go in there and make it a dogfight.
Stephie Daniels: Would you prefer to keep the fight standing?
Ed Herman: I'm pretty comfortable with wherever the fight goes. I don't really want to be underneath Jake, so if I can defend his takedowns and use my hands to beat him up, that will be ideal. I feel like my clinch game is strong, so I can beat him up in the clinch, push him around, wear him down. If I end up on top, that's fine with me, too. I'll work my ground and pound. I just have to be patient and fight smart. Jake is pretty crafty, so I won't be spending too much time looking for a submission. If he takes me down, I'm getting right back up. He won't be able to hold me down.
Stephie Daniels: Of the fights in your career that haven't gone your way, which one is most important to you to avenge, or is it not that important to recoup those losses, and at this point you just keep moving forward?
Ed Herman: It's a little bit of both. I'd love to rematch everybody I've lost to, but really, right now, the only fight that makes sense is maybe a rematch against Alan Belcher. Some of the other guys aren't as high up on the ladder as me. It would be great to get revenge for all my losses, because I feel like every fight I've lost I was either winning up until I got caught or I lost a close decision. Every loss I have, if you look at it, I was right there in the fight. Of course I would love all those back as a competitor, but it's business, and only Belcher makes sense, rematch-wise.
Stephie Daniels: What are your thoughts on this mess that the middleweight division seems to be in right now?
Ed Herman: It's pretty crazy right now. I think the division is more stacked than it's ever been. So many guys are right there at the top, looking for a big title shot. It's just amazing to see how clustered up it is right now. I'm excited to see the way things pan out in the next couple months.
Stephie Daniels: What did you think of Hector Lombard's debut?
Ed Herman: You know, I was not impressed at all. With all the hype around him coming in, I was glad to see him lose. Tim Boetsch is a good dude, and I was glad to see him get the victory. I hate it when I see guys coming in with so much hype around them. I'm glad to see him realize that the UFC is a big step up in the competition level. That level isn't as high in Bellator. I definitely was not impressed at all with him.
Stephie Daniels: Did it bother you that he would have immediately been a contender for the belt if he had won that fight?
Ed Herman: Not really, because he did have so much hype and so many wins in a row. The hardcore fans knew who he was and he's been undefeated for a long time. He's beaten some quality opponents and some not so quality, but enough to where if he did go in there and just put it on Boetsch in an exciting way, I could see why they would give him a shot. That excitement factor could have brought good ratings, and that's a lot of what it's all about. It is what it is.
Stephie Daniels: What are your thoughts on guys that talk their way into big fights and even title shots?
Ed Herman: I think that's a good thing and a bad thing. If you're asking for it, if you're talking about it, you can get that opportunity. Unfortunately, I'm not a big sh*t talker. I don't call out a lot of guys. It's not my style, so it affects me the opposite way, I guess. That's part of the game. I would love a title shot. If you're not looking for a title shot, you're in the wrong place. I give Chael Sonnen props for being able to market himself so well.
Stephie Daniels: When you talk about guys that come into the UFC with a lot of hype behind them, Jake Shields actually fits that category because of Strikeforce. Do you feel that the quality of competition he faced in Strikeforce was as good as the quality of competition you have faced in the UFC?
Ed Herman: Yes and no. He did face a few tough guys in Strikeforce, like Dan Henderson. I think Henderson took him a little lightly, and maybe didn't respect his takedowns. We've seen Jake struggle with guys like Martin Kampmann and Yoshihiro Akiyama, but you're not always going to look good when you're fighting the toughest guys in the world. I'm excited to welcome him back to the middleweight division. He's not going to get an easy win, that's for sure.
Stephie Daniels: What's your opinion of Chris Weidman's skillset?
Ed Herman: Weidman is a very talented guy. I think out of all the guys right now, he is the most dangerous for Anderson Silva, which is why they're trying to avoid him. I think he's the guy that can go in there and beat Anderson. I would love to see him go in there and win the title. If I was going to fight for the title, I'd love for it to be against Chris, because in my mind, he's the top guy right now in the division.
Stephie Daniels: What did you think about Anderson Silva turning down that fight?
Ed Herman: I think it's probably smart, because I think Weidman beats him in that fight. Reading some of the interviews and articles, his management is looking for the perfect payday, and with Anderson getting a piece of the pay-per-views and all that stuff, and with there not being a lot of fights left on his contract, he's definitely looking to make as much money as he can. This is a business, and you have to look at it from that perspective. It's frustrating for guys like Weidman or me or any of the other guys, but there's a lot of politics involved. It's not about who the best guy is anymore.
Stephie Daniels: Where do you think Michael Bisping fits in this cluster at the top of the division?
Ed Herman: Mike is definitely right there. He's improved a lot over the years. He surprised me in a few fights. I'd love to get a fight with Mike. I've been saying that since we were on Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter together. I think we'd match up well. I respect Mike. He's a gamer and comes to fight. He fights very smart and is so marketable. I could see him getting a title shot if he wins, just based on that marketability aspect.
Stephie Daniels: There used to be a time when you had to string together three or four wins before you could be in the mix, but that's changed dramatically. How do you feel about that?
Ed Herman: That's true, and it's definitely not fair, but that's kind of the way it is right now. Like I said, there's a lot of politics involved. It's out of my hands, for sure. I think you should have to string together four or five fights in a row to get a title shot, but that isn't always the case these days.
You can follow Ed via his Twitter, @EdHermanUFC