Ed Herman is made from tough stuff, and the octagon veteran showcased that durability as he outbattled Russian prospect Khadis Ibragimov at UFC on ESPN+ 21 after three hard-fought rounds in Moscow.
Speaking to Rashad Evans and Karyn Bryant on ESPN’s post-fight show, “Short Fuse” (24-14 MMA, 12-10 UFC) said he had initially planned on taking things to the mat, but ended up reverting to type and going toe-to-toe with his opponent instead.
“I’m a sucker for a good brawl,” Herman said. “I try to take less damage so I can kinda extend my career, work on my wrestling more. But I get caught in there bangin’. It’s fun. I felt I could knock him out, felt I was close a couple of times, but just couldn’t quite land that final shot.”
Herman systematically broke down Ibragimov over the course of the fight and enjoyed particular success in the clinch. It’s something Herman has drilled countless times over the course of his career, and he said he knew that aspect of his game would be valuable against a man who is noted for his dangerous boxing from range.
“We knew he’s the most dangerous on the outside throwing big bombs, so I wanted to get inside and work, but that’s always been my game,” he said. “I’m an old-school Team Quest guy – we’re clinch fighters. That’s where I’m most comfortable – in that clinch throwing knees, throwing elbows, uppercuts.”
Herman’s relentless display was one of the outstanding performances of the night in Moscow, but the 39-year-old said he wasn’t able to deliver the sort of performance he’d trained for after suffering the effects of a long journey from the U.S. to Russia.
“I was a little frustrated because I came in really good shape,” he said. “But I think the jet lag and the travel took some effect on me and I didn’t have that explosive energy in the later rounds. I wanted to finish him a couple of times. I could hear my coaches yelling to do stuff, but my body just wasn’t reacting.”
And, after another grueling battle, an exhausted Herman admitted that after claiming victory in his 40th professional fight, he wasn’t 100% sure what’s next for him.
“I never know when it’s going to be the last one,” he said. “This could have been the last one, too. I’m not sure yet. I’ve gotta go home, hit the drawing board and think about it, talk to my family – because it hurts, man. I’m banged up. My hands hurt, my face hurts a little bit. (I’m) still pretty though, for 39. I’m getting prettier as I’m getting older.”
Retirement is clearly something Herman is considering, but if he needs any inspiration to carry on towards his 40th birthday next October he has the perfect figure to talk to – Team Quest legend Dan Henderson.
“I ran into him this summer and I was telling him that I was thinking about hanging them up,” he said. “We had a good conversation and he gave me some good knowledge that made me believe that I could continue to do this a little bit longer.”
- UFC on ESPN+ 21: Karl Roberson targets top 15 after battling for win in Moscow
- 5 biggest takeaways from UFC on ESPN+ 21: Zabit's cardio, Kattar's class, Hardy's ceiling and more
- Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Zabit Magomedsharipov and UFC on ESPN+ 21's other key winners?
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Banged up Ed Herman unsure of fighting future after hard-fought win at UFC on ESPN+ 21