When Ed Herman returned from a knee injury that kept him out for over a year, he did so as a different man, both mentally and physically.
The Ultimate Fighter alum doesn’t dispute the fire that still drives him forward in his career, but he knows the man that knocked out Tim Credeur a few months ago and submitted Kyle Noke on Sunday night in Milwaukee is a much better version of his former self.
“I feel like I’m back and better than ever. I think mentally coming into fights I’m stronger because there have been some times in the past where I have questioned myself mentally, and that’s a big part of this game. I’m going into every fight mentally prepared and firing on all cylinders, and I feel I’ve figured that part of the game out. I think that is going to help me tremendously in my run at the middleweight title.”
After earning a first-round knockout victory back in June, Herman stepped in for an injured Tom Lawlor to face Noke on the Versus 5 card. It was a quick turnaround for “Short Fuse, but it was exactly what he wanted.
“I felt great. I told Joe Silva that I wanted to get back into the Octagon as soon as I could and I had some catching up to do after being off so long. I was happy to get the call to take this fight.”
Midway through the first round, Noke was able to score a takedown to put Herman on his back. Most wrestlers are at a disadvantage from this position, but Herman felt right at home.
“It’s never my game plan to fight off of my back, but I feel confident there. I watched some tape on Kyle and I felt that he makes quite a few mistakes in the guard and I felt that I could catch him there. I’m kind of feeling as if I took the easy way out, fighting off my back, looking for the submission.”
“My coaches didn’t want me to do that and I could’ve defended that takedown a little bit better, but I felt confident. He’s a dangerous guy and he threw some big old elbows that barely missed, so it was scary there a couple of times. He is a big, strong athletic kid. I’m stoked to get out of there with the win.”
From top position, Noke attempted to work the ground and pound until Herman saw an opening and attempted to lock in an arm bar. Noke remained calm and was able to defend himself, but when Herman switched to a heel hook the fight ended shortly after.
“I thought I could get that arm bar but my legs were a little bit tangled up and just weren’t in the right position. I couldn’t quite get my angle and he was doing a good job of defending it. I was starting to get tired and my legs were getting tired from squeezing on him. I was just glad to get that heel hook and get the heck out of there.”
“I saw the heel hook and I was going to use it to get up, but when I pulled it in and was able to choke it up just right, he reacted just the right way. I felt his ankle pop so I tweaked on it a bit more. The pop either came from his ankle or his knee, but I was lucky I was able to finish with that because it’s a hard move to finish with.”
“I have a lot of things going for me. I have my hands full. I have 3 year old twins, a new gym and at the same time keep my fighting career going. I opened a new gym with Ryan Schultz and Rio Maley in Ft. Collins and it’s called Trials MMA. It’s a great gym and we are open to everybody. We have moms and dads in there, kids programs, fitness, as well as a competitive fight team…so we offer a little bit of everything.
“I’m going to prove to people that I’m not done and I’m back. There are a lot of doubters out there. I feel like I’m back and hopefully I can get a shot at a main card my next time out and show the people the kind of fights they want to see.”