by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
At one time, Yves Edwards was on top of mixed martial arts’ lightweight division.
During a stretch from mid-2002 until mid-2005, he went on an impressive run of 11-1 with wins over the likes of Rich Clementi, Hermes Franca (twice) and Josh Thomson in a bout that was considered by many to be for the unofficial Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight crown.
Then things went awry.
Over the course of his next six bouts after his match-up with Thomson, Edwards went 1-5, fighting hard, but ultimately coming up short more often than not.
It became clear that a change was needed. Enter a move to one of the country’s premier fight clubs, the American Top Team.
Since branching out from his native Texas to the Florida-based ATT, Edwards looks to be back on track, as he defeated a very tough Nick Gonzales in his EliteXC debut last month.
Not one to sit and rest for too long, the rejuvenated Yves looks to continue his winning ways as steps into the cage for HDNet Fights this Saturday in Dallas against up-and-comer Alonzo Martinez.
“Winning’s always very important. I don’t know anybody that got into fighting to see how many fights they could lose, you know,” said Edwards of getting back on the winning track. “I’m going out there to try to win every fight, and definitely everybody that does this wants to be the best, and I’m no different in that regard.
“I’m just working, trying to figure out how to get back on top. The HDNet Fights are the next step, so I’m going to take this next step, go in there and bash this guy out.”
Part of getting himself back up to the top required Edwards to rethink his training, which ultimately lead to his decision to train with the very team whose fighters he had faced in the past, ATT.
“It came about because I’ve known those guys for a long time,” he explained. “I just showed up in Fort Lauderdale and everybody welcomed me, and we trained together and it felt like we’d been training together for years.
“All the coaches have been really helpful and all the guys I’ve trained with have been really helpful. The good thing about it is that there’re so many good guys there, and there’s always guys fighting, so you’re never at a loss for training partners. It’s been very good for me.”
At HDNet Fights, he takes on another veteran fighter in Alonzo Martinez.
As he explains however, it doesn’t matter what the opposition is, he’s going to do what he does and dictate the fight on his own terms.
“I definitely plan on schooling him,” exclaimed Edwards. “I’m going to get in there and do everything I need to do to win this fight.
“No doubt he’s looking at this as another chance to fight a guy with a name and try to come out with a win, but I’m not going to be that guy that he gets a win over.”
He went on, “This is MMA; this isn’t about proving any other point other than you can beat the guy. And what does it take the beat the guy? Do what you do best. So, that’s all I want to do, do what I do best and exploit weaknesses.”
Regardless of whether or not he can continue his winning ways this weekend, Edwards looks to remain busy well into the next year, as his crowd-pleasing fighting style always has him in demand.
“The HDNet guys have asked if I’d be interested in fighting for them in the future, and I told them that I’m definitely interested in that, but I still have a few fights left with my EliteXC contract,” he divulged.
“I just want to fight. It doesn’t really matter where. Someone signs a paycheck, builds a cage and finds someone to fight me – I’ll be there.”
And while the venues and promotions may change, the goal remains the same.
“Everybody that does this wants to be a champion,” said Edwards. “So definitely whoever has the belt is the guy everyone’s gunning for.
“That’s just how it is; you want to be the best, and to be recognized as the best you have to have the belt. I’m definitely gunning for that.”
With the lightweight division as full as it has ever been, both veterans and up-and-comers alike are looking to establish themselves as true contenders and separate themselves from the pack.
Edwards has been to the top before and now revitalized, he looks to do it again, by starting a winning streak this weekend at HDNet Fights in Dallas.
“I definitely want to thank all the guys who have been helping me get ready for this fight, my sponsors NoSubmit.com, and my family for being so supportive of me,” concluded Edwards.
“For everybody that likes to see me kick people in the head, show up at the America Airlines arena this Saturday night, and don’t blink. That’s my thing, that’s what I do. Whenever I fight, nobody’s bored, so come on down and check it out.”