by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Yves Edwards will get his chance to finally get a championship belt around his waist this Saturday night. Edwards, the former “uncrowned” UFC lightweight champion, has fought some of the best guys in the business and has beaten a good majority of them. He’s known for his lethal hands, kicks and knees as well as his excellent submission prowess. He’ll get the opportunity to utilize all his skills at EliteXC’s “Return of the King” on Saturday night when faces defending 160-pound champion K.J. Noons.
Edwards took some time to talk with MMAWeekly Radio about his upcoming preparation for his fight with Noons. “Things are going good,” he said. “I’m dropping the last few pounds, staying in shape and keeping my mind focused.”
The event will be taking place in Hawaii, which can be a gift and a curse for any athlete. As beautiful as Hawaii is, Edwards doesn’t want to let the beauty distract him from his main focus. “I don’t want to get distracted,” he explained. “It’s just another fight. I’m going to enjoy it after the fight.”
The fight with Noons has a lot of potential for Edwards. After all, this will be the biggest fight up to this point in his career and he knows it. “It’s big. I really appreciate it. I feel like it put me back on the map, you know? I got a lot of guys backing me. I have a really strong team. I’m really excited about this fight.”
With the CBS deal in EliteXC’s hands, a big win will surely propel Edwards to the top of list of fighters in the upcoming events for CBS. However, he is just as happy fighting on Showtime. “Showtime is a big network. There will be a lot of people watching the fight. I’m really excited to be fighting on a major network on cable. There are just so many opportunities right now and I plan on using them all.”
EliteXC has established their weight classes differently than many of the other organizations. While this fight is at lightweight, the actual weight will be 160 pounds. Not that Edwards would ever have problem making weight, considering he once weighed in at a UFC event eating a cheeseburger. Due to the increased weight, he has tried to become a little bit larger than he was previously. “I’ve got a little bit bigger because the weight class is higher. I’m just focused on this fight right now.”
An impressive part of Edwards’ game is his versatility. He’s as dangerous as they come at almost every position. “It’s just like every other fight,” he commented. “I’m not uncomfortable anywhere in a fight. You can’t be one dimensional. That’s the biggest part of me being at American Top Team.”
Some of his versatility showed in his last fight when he had a highlight reel knockout over Edson Berto. Berto was working a single leg takedown when Edwards, seemingly out of nowhere, jumped with his pivot foot and kneed Berto right on the button to lay him out. “I’ve practiced that in the gym,” he laughed. “There’s a lot more where that came from. A whole lot more.”
Noons is not an opponent to be taken lightly, which is why Edwards has watched all the fights he could on the champion. “I watched a lot of fights,” said Edwards. “I see quite a few places I can capitalize on. The question is, ‘will he be the same guy?’ I am going to look for all the openings I’ve seen on tape. I saw a few things that may work out well for me.”
Being that this fight is for the championship belt, Edwards is well-prepared to go five rounds. “It’s always a possibility so you’ve got to be prepared for it. I feel comfortable going to that distance. I want a finish for the fans. But, I’m going to take advantage of it, if not.”
The main factor that Edwards will have on Noons will be his experience. Edwards has been in the cage with some of the best in the business. Having that experience can only help the challenger. However, he isn’t expecting that to have any impact on the champion. “It’s a possibility, but it’s not something I game plan on. He’s got fight experience and he has the desire to win. That’s what I’m expecting to fight. Anyone less than that, they’re going to get their ass whooped.”
For Yves Edwards, this is a pivotal fight in his storied career. A win over Noons will propel him to the exposure and notoriety that many other EliteXC fighters such as Kimbo Slice, Joey Villasenor and Gina Carano have experienced.
Edwards feel he is prepared to defeat Noons and take home another win. His prediction for the fight is simple: “Just to get in there and destroy whatever is in front of me. To walk out of that cage with a W, and my hand held high and a big smile on my face.”