A big welcome to our world class broadcasting team relaying the action to PFL fans across the globe all season long, fans can expect the most holistic of experiences across the board from @Randy_Couture, @BasRuttenMMA , @thugjitsumaster , @TheToddHarris and @CarolinePearce ! pic.twitter.com/EFd83lOTxg— #PFLmma (@ProFightLeague) May 2, 2018
“I feel like MMA has been going in just one direction for a long time,” Edwards told Sherdog.com. “It’s not a bad direction, but it’s time to give the fans something else they can look forward to. Let’s take some aspects from parts of MMA, like jiu-jitsu or wrestling. In those sports, you have a world champion every year. The same guy can be the world champion, but he has to go through the tournament like everyone else. Also in football, you play the regular season, then you get to play the playoffs and then you get the chance to become world champion. That’s what PFL is doing: We have a regular season. Then during the playoffs, we will have the best eight guys competing. At the end of that, we will have a champion. When you win the championship for 2018, you will always be the champion from that year. Same thing next year.
“When we get guys repeating as champion, that’s going to show some real finesse and show someone’s complete game,” he added. “The regular season may not go as well for them -- they may come into the playoffs as the fourth or fifth [seed] -- but they will have the opportunity to bounce back and win the tournament; and those opportunities being rewarded for what you do inside the cage rather than what you with your mouth or what you do on social media is definitely a big plus for this sport.”
There will be 12 fighters in each weight class competing in two regular-season contests. Fighters will earn points based on their results. The top eight fighters in each division will be paired together for a single-elimination playoffs.
“PFL is giving the fighters a really strong platform,” Edwards said. “All the fighters need to do is to step up and perform, get their fans to pay attention to them and take a look at it. I truly believe that with the roster that we have [and] the caliber of fighters that we have, if you have an opportunity to watch it and you are just a little bit of a fight fan, you are going to fall in love because these guys fight hard every single time. I’ve never seen a PFL or WSOF fight that was not entertaining or something that was calculated. I’m very excited about this season. We are going to change the face of mixed martial arts. We are not trying to take over the world, but to present something that fight fans and people can appreciate, and it’s based on merit. Fighters are going to go out there, and they have to earn what they get. This is going to be fun.”
The PFL’s 2018 season kicks off on June 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York and concludes on Dec. 31. Edwards confesses that he would have loved to have had the chance to make a run at a million dollars when his career was at its peak.
“I would have beat up six other guys for a million dollars,” he said. “I’d do it now if I could get in that shape again. That’s a huge opportunity, and I know that of the 12 guys in each division only one is going to make that million dollars, but 12-to-1 odds is something I would jump at.”
The Pride Fighting Championships and Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran joins a broadcast team that includes Randy Couture, Bas Rutten, Caroline Pearce and Todd Harris. What Edwards likes the most about the PFL is the merit system upon which it is based.
“When I got the call from the PFL, they offered me an opportunity to really work on my craft,” Edwards said. “I get an opportunity to work with some of the young up-and-comer fighters and some guys I’ve seen and even trained or competed with in the past. There’s a good mixture on the roster, young up-and-comers, some steady guys who have already shown their worth to the sport and some guys who are still powerhouses in their respective divisions. I like that they have so many different options and variables and the fact that the guys are going to be rewarded solely on what happens inside the cage. If someone gets injured and another guy has to replace him, he still has to go through the same grind; he still has to win the fights to make him champion. The reward for what you actually do and the work you actually put in, I’m really excited about that. There’s going to be no conjuncture. It’s going to be very objectively based on performance, and I love that that’s the case.”
The soon-to-be 42-year-old analyst will provide deeper insight into key moments of each fight by breaking down individual technique and strategy. Edwards’ long history in the sport gives him a unique perspective.
“There will be some specific things that happen in fights that I will try to transfer and then explain to the fight fans,” Edwards said. “Some of the things they may not recognize about what happens during the fight. Also, there will be moments in between rounds or after fights when I will have the chance to really put a stamp on what happened, why it happened and how it got to that situation, so really breaking things down, getting some opportunities to jump in there with Randy and Todd and do some of the color as far as what’s happening as the fight’s happening. Once it’s over, there will be some things that happened that some fans didn’t notice, [and] I will get the opportunity to present to them.”