by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com Four years, two months, and seven days.
That’s the length of time between fights in the UFC for Yves Edwards.
But now that the master of Thug-Jitsu is back in the Octagon, he’s not shouting to the heavens that he’s back. He has to prove why the higher ups at the UFC gave him another shot, and that’s where the real work begins.
Since exiting the UFC after a loss to Joe Stevenson in 2006, Edwards faced tough times, and a career upheaval. Through all of this, he maintained the support of countless fans, friends, and teammates who knew he was talented enough to hang with the best of the best in the lightweight division.
Fate came calling just a few weeks ago when injuries forced changes to Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 22 card, and Edwards was tapped as a late replacement to face John Gunderson. Just about everybody in the MMA community was elated that Edwards was back in the UFC, but he’s not buying into it just yet.
Edwards is happy to be back in the UFC, but staying there is what he’s out to do.
“Haven’t fought yet though, so I still got to go out there and prove stuff,” Edwards told MMAWeekly Radio about his UFC comeback.
Edwards has spent the last four years fighting in several different promotions, but always knew that to be among the best fighters in the world, he needed to return to the Octagon. The UFC’s lightweight division is a roost that Edwards ruled for some time before the company dropped the weight class all together, and the Texas native had to go find another promotion to call home.
Now that he’s back, Edwards can’t wait to face the best of the best at 155 pounds, but the list stops and starts with John Gunderson for now.
“Of course it was a good feeling because it’s what I’ve been working for. Everybody has their thoughts on who they think the best guy in the world is, and right now the best guy at my weight is Frankie (Edgar), but I want to make a run at being that guy again. The only place to do that is in the UFC,” Edwards said.
Just coming off a fight in Bellator Fighting Championships a month ago, Edwards is healthy, and feels like he’s in the best condition he could be for this fight. Not getting a chance to rest after his last fight forced Edwards to maintain instead of working hard to get back in shape, and that could bring out his best performance come Wednesday night.
“Honestly, just looking at this fight, I know I’m not going to gas, and I think that’s the big fear for most guys. I’m not worried about somebody hitting me, I’m not worried about somebody submitting me, so if I go out there and I know I’m not going to gas, the sky’s the limit,” Edwards commented. “You may get another highlight reel out of me. I’ve still got some more in me, don’t sleep on that.”
Edwards’ career has been littered with highlights, one of which still gets a lot of replay around the UFC. When Edwards was considered the promotion’s top lightweight, he took on rising star Josh Thomson in 2004. He threw a flying kick with just seconds left in the first round that absolutely floored Thomson, and still remains one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history.
Now that he’s back in the UFC, Edwards wants more of those performances. He’s not going to over-think things anymore. He’s just going to go out there and fight, and have fun doing it. If he’s doing that, then Edwards is more than confident he’ll be successful.
“It’s something I have to go out there and prove. There’s a lot of tough guys there and I’m really excited about it,” Edwards said. “I think the timing is great, the timing is right, but what better time than now? That’s the way it always works.
“I’m just going to go out there to perform, and let the chips fall where they fall.”