Yves Edwards has seen a lot in his 58-fight career. | Photo: Peter Lockley/Sherdog.com
If you wanted to compile an instructional tape from things a guy had done in fights, you could make a pretty good one from the career of Yves Edwards. That is because Edwards competed across multiple eras in MMA, putting together a wealth of knowledge and experience, fighting often as the name opponent brought in with the deck stacked against him.
With a subtle jiu-jitsu game, sound standup and plain old hard-learned know-how from fighting anyone who would oblige him, Edwards’ 58-fight career is testimony that a fighter can always keep learning. Having made his Octagon debut at UFC 33 in September 2001, Yves was a staple lighter-weight fighter for hardcore fans for more than a decade.
He is also one of the true good guys in the game. Writing about fights and fighters is, in theory, an objective exercise, but seeing Edwards get starched by Sam Stout at UFC 131 on Saturday only reminded me of how much I appreciate the great fights and consistent professionalism Edwards has shown in his career. MMA’s an unforgiving game, and Edwards’ decision to continue is his own. He deserves recognition for the long road he has taken to still stay at this level and the great fights he has given fans.
A few years ago, while interviewing Din Thomas, I asked him about a potential match with Edwards. The two had waged a memorable freestyle rap battle on the Underground forum, to boot.
“People have wanted to make a fight with Yves and I for years,” Thomas said. “But the problem is, we’re both counter fighters. It might be boring. We’d probably just sit around waiting for the other guy to make a mistake.”
In fact, while most fans may remember him best for his eye-popping head kick knockout of Josh Thomson at UFC 49 or his flying knee knockout of James Edson Berto -- off a single-leg tie-up, no less -- I’ll remember Edwards best for his detached, cerebral dismantling of Cody McKenzie at UFC “Fight for the Troops 2” in January.
Facing the raw but talented submission savant, Edwards clinically and brutally picked apart McKenzie in a tough fight, where one could see him thinking, adjusting, and letting his experience come to bear. A year or two from now, that might be a fight McKenzie wins, but at the time, Edwards simply knew too much. Watching it unfold was testimony that, sometimes, age and mileage count against the younger guy.
Much respect to Edwards.