“The thing I took from studying tape on him is that he loads up on his punches,” Edwards told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “Yeah, he hits hard … but I think the confidence in his power makes him try to use it every time. He tries to kill. He tries to win the football game with one throw.”
Edwards, on the other hand, also hits hard but picks his shots. Less than two minutes into the fight, he floored Stephens with a short right hook and then finished him on the ground. It was the first time Stephens had been knocked out.
“I feel really comfortable countering guys, to throw punches when he’s throwing punches but getting out of the way at the same time,” Edwards said. “I just wanted to get his timing down. The shot, I threw it intentionally. I wanted to hit him hard, and it was just a perfect shot. It got there at a good time. I was still trying to work his timing out as far as when he tenses up and he’s ready to go. I kind of could see that, but I didn’t know I was going to clip him with that and shut him down. I knew I was going to hit him, but the force of my punch and him running into it is what brought him down.”
The fight lasted long enough for Edwards to get a taste of Stephens’ power. It was real, no doubt, but it was also far from the first time a veteran like Edwards had been matched against an opponent who can punch.
“It wasn’t a clean shot, but a little bit of it got through and I felt it,” Edwards said of one of Stephens’ strikes. “It felt like he has a lot of power, but I’ve fought a lot of guys over the years and I can go way back. I’ve fought a lot of guys with some power. … It wasn’t something that was scary to me, but it was nice to know where he stood and what he was bringing to the table.”
Edwards brought more Saturday, and now he’s looking to tie a few more wins together and possibly make another title run. The 36-year-old could have been a UFC champion in 2004, but his spectacular knockout of Josh Thomson ended up being a non-title affair when Zuffa decided to put the lightweight division on pause. Edwards is hoping for another shot.
“I don’t do this for any other reason,” he said. “I want to be the best that I could possibly be, and if the best that I can be is a champion, then I’m going to keep pushing for that. I know my window’s closing and I know there’s a lot of young guys coming up that are really, really good, but I want to try to get as high as I possibly can.”