Saturday night, the bell tolls for Strikeforce, with the doors closing forever after the event. It is a card filled with talented athletes, looking to make their mark in anticipation of being brought over to the UFC. There is also a lone gunman, if you will, a solid test brought over from the UFC to stand in as a late replacement for Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. That man, Ed "Short Fuse" Herman, stands ready to engage in a duel that presents a great deal of meaning to both men, and will also determine their career paths. I spoke with Ed yesterday, and got his thoughts about Souza, and about the disappointment he feels in the NC fight he had with Jake Shields.
Training with Chris Leben
You know, I was already training hard when I got the call for this fight. I was up in Hawaii, helping Chris Leben get ready for his fight, and I had already been working with guys in my own gym, so I was in pretty good shape. I was pretty surprised at his (Leben's) performance, because he did look kind of flat in there. He just wasn't the quick and explosive Chris we normally see. I'm really not sure, because when I was out there, he looked great. He was in the best shape I'd ever seen. His weight was lower than normal, so I know the weight cut wasn't the issue. I was really surprised to see him come out and not perform like I know that he can.
Mistakes in training
I think in my last fight, I was too worried about the guy, so I didn't really train for me, or my style. I trained for him, and worried about his style. I made the mistake of training just to defend his style. You've got to dance with the lady who brought ya, so that's what I've got to do. I've got to keep to what's gotten me to where I'm at.
He's fought some pretty talented guys, with Luke Rockhold probably being the toughest, but he hasn't fought anybody like me. I'm a little more aggressive than most of the guys he's fought, and I feel like he's not going to scare me, he's not going to hurt me. He's got a big right hand, but I've proven that I can take my share of big right hands. I just think he's going to have his hands full. My overall tenacity and in your face style is going to be key here. I'm not going to let him catch his breath or dictate the pace of the fight.
Luke Rockhold did that well, backing him up by staying in his face. Jacare tends to get a little bit tired towards the later rounds, especially if you make him defend the shot and make him wrestle. You have to make him work hard, which he's really not used to doing, being the super athlete that he is.
I think Colorado is one of the HIPAA privacy states where they weren't allowed to release what he tested positive for. I'm pretty sure it was for some type of performance enhancing substance, just by looking at his physique going in to the fight. He looked pretty puffed up and exhibited the common signs. As an athlete, you can recognize those signs. I can't guarantee it, but I'm pretty positive that it was for some kind of performance enhancing drug. If it really was for marijuana, it's a lot easier for a guy to come right out and say, 'I smoked a joint, sorry.' You get a little less criticism that way than if you cheated and used a performance enhancer.
Yeah, I've got no problem with that kind of testing. I don't want it to get to where guys feel like they need to take performance enhancers to compete at the highest level. I don't want these young kids coming up to think the same thing either, because it's not healthy. Having a long career and making lots of money is great, but if you're going to die when you're 45, that ain't cool. I want to be around for my kids. I want to have my man tools still working.
Thing is, I think I remember Dana White making a comment that if they did this kind of testing, 90% of these guys would end up getting caught for marijuana. I don't see marijuana as an issue. I don't really see it as a performance enhancer. If a guy wants to smoke a joint before he gets in the cage with me, I don't have a problem with that, but if he's sticking a needle in his butt, I've got a problem.
I noticed a significant drop in my standing in the rankings on several sites after the Shields fight. I feel that if he wasn't cheating, and you know, taking the Superman stuff, it would have been a different fight. Even though it was turned into a no contest, my rank has still come down. I didn't get my hand raised. I didn't get that win bonus check, which is a huge difference for us. I feel that loss financially and emotionally. It sucks.
Fighting on the last Strikeforce card
It does feel like I'm gonna be a part of a historic event. At first I was like, 'Aw Strikeforce? That's a downgrade', but now that I've thought about it, I'm actually pretty excited and honored to be a part of this last event. I can always say that I'm a Strikeforce vet, as well as a UFC vet. This card is stacked, too. I'm pumped and I think it's gonna be great.
You can follow Ed via his Twitter account, @EdHerman