LAS VEGAS – Ed Herman is in town for UFC on ESPN+ 35 fight week, but he’s not going to believe a fight’s actually going down until he’s locked in the cage with Mike Rodriguez.
Can you blame him? Herman (24-14 MMA, 12-10 UFC) has had several fights fall out during the COVID-19 era, most recently having his bout with Gerald Meerschaert fall out on fight day after his opponent caught the virus.
“I was at fight week last time and I didn’t find out until the day of that my fight was canceled,” Herman told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Thursday. “So I’m not counting anything until I step in that cage.”
But hey, if anyone has earned the right to have such an attitude, it’s Herman, the middleweight competitor who is one of the company’s longest-tenured performers. “Short Fuse” has been with the company since earning runner-up status on “The Ultimate Fighter 3,” so he knows by now how to go with the flow.
“Not giving a (expletive),” Herman said about his attitude. “I’m like hey, it is what it is, a new opponent, this and that. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, man. All kinds of (expletive) happened over the years, so where I’m at in my career, each fight could be my last. You never know, with injuries and things going down with all this COVID stuff, you know, fires burning and tornados and hurricanes, who the hell knows what’s going to happen?”
So, no offense to Rodriguez (11-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC), but Herman, who brings a two-fight winning streak into the bout, has learned over the years not to get too high or too low.
He’s been there, done that.
“I’m one of the real ‘BMF’s for one,” Herman said. “For two, yeah man, it’s just what I do. When I was younger, I didn’t take maybe care of myself as good as I should have, so these days, I’m being a little older and more mature. I’m taking care of my body better. I eat better. I take my recovery seriously. I don’t party like I did when I was a kid, just all those little things add up.
“My family and my friends and my team are the most important to me, and you push the rest out. Just trust the people who are around you who you know are going to have your back.”
UFC on ESPN+ 35 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.