by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy of EdHerman.tv)

This weekend, two Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans will step into the cage again for a fight that has middleweight title implications. Ed Herman and Joe Doerksen will meet at UFC 78 in Newark, N.J., for a rematch of their 2004 fight, a bout that Doerksen won by triangle choke.

Herman steps into this fight anxious for the opportunity to vindicate the loss.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Joe. I’ve followed his career since he beat me and we’ve run into each other from time to time and always had good things to say about each other, so I’m excited to go and revenge a loss, most definitely.”

He continued, “There’s a couple other guys that I’d like to get in there with too of course, but I’m stoked. Yeah, it definitely motivates me to go in there and revenge a loss…especially on the big stage in the UFC.”

Originally, Herman was slated to fight former UFC middleweight title contender David Terrell, but the Cesar Gracie protégé recently pulled out of the match due to injury. Some fighters would balk at the idea of an opponent change so close to a fight, but Herman contends it is not that big of a deal.

“You know, it doesn’t really affect me that much. Doerksen is a similar opponent [compared to Terrell]. Good jiu-jitsu, decent wrestler, pretty well-rounded, so it doesn’t change much.”

This fight is more than a shot at redemption for Herman, though; a win in this fight puts him on a three-fight win streak in a division that has literally been turned on its head by current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

“The middleweight division in the UFC is thick with some of the Pride guys coming in and all that … it’s definitely a deep division. Anderson Silva has been looking real good, he’s been whoopin’ some ass,” said Herman as he surveyed the division.

Silva has gone through the division’s elite challengers, including former champ Rich Franklin twice, and it seems somewhat like he has disposed of all justifiable challengers, save for the talented – though sometimes uninspiring – Yushin Okami, although Okami is currently without a contract.

Barring a move to middleweight by fellow Team Quest fighter Dan Henderson, Herman could be close to a title shot if he pulls off a win this weekend. Of that possibility, he said, “Obviously, if they offered me the fight, I’d probably take it, but I’d like some more time honestly.”

So what can the East Coast fans expect when Herman steps into the Octagon on Saturday night?

“I’m going to look to push the pace and get in Joe’s face. We had a good battle three-and-a-half years ago. I was still a rookie back then, I’d just turned pro, and I think I’m a lot better now, a lot more experienced … bigger, stronger, faster, everything.”

He continued, “Joe’s a tough competitor. He’s tough as hell. He doesn’t quit, so it’s going to be a battle. I can see a three-round battle or I can see me finishing him second or third round, but Joe’s a tough cat, man. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got like I always do and I’m going to leave my heart in the cage and look to put on an impressive fight for everybody.”