While he had mixed results in his two bouts of 2018, lightweight Te Edwards was able to finally make his move into the UFC and fulfill a career-long goal by doing so.
Because he was finally able to make it to the UFC, though he was 1-1 in his 2018 campaign, Edwards is still overall pleased with where he ended up by year’s end.
“2018 of course the first fight we had (against Austin Tweedy at Dana White’s Contender Series in June) went really well,” Edwards told MMAWeekly.com. “I came out and did everything we wanted to do and got the (UFC) contract and everything.
“The debut (versus Don Madge at UFC Fight Night 138 in October) didn’t go as planned. We just got mixed up in some situations that were dangerous and were on the bad end of a couple of kicks. All things considered, I think (2018) was pretty positive. We didn’t finish out how we wanted, but it’s definitely several steps in the right direction.”
A big reason why Edwards is so happy with where he is at now is the fact that the UFC can allow him the opportunity to finally pursue MMA as a career, and not something he had to balance with other obligations.
“Now I can focus all my time and energy into actually training and being as good as I could be,” said Edwards. “Beforehand we were getting short-notice fights, we’re doing smaller regional fights, and it’s hard to dedicate all your time and energy to fighting and to chasing that dream when there’s not like a for-sure thing.
“We’ve got the four-fight contract, we’re getting paid good money, now we can really just wake up and train and eat and watch film, go back to training, and make it a full-time job. We can dedicate a lot more time to cleaning up different holes in my game or emphasizing my strengths that much more.”
At UFC on ESPN+ 1 on Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y., Edwards (6-2) will look to rebound when he faces Dennis Bermudez (16-9) in a preliminary 155-pound bout.
“He’s coming up from 145 pounds, so he has a smaller build than a lot of the guys I’m used to fighting,” Edwards said of Bermudez. “He’s a smaller-framed guy with a wrestling background and good striking; but everything he’s good at we’re also good at, but we’re bigger, faster, stronger, younger and hungrier, I think, honestly.
“He’s kind of toward the end of his career I think, and we might have to be the one to close the door on him.”
With a more stable base now that he’s in the UFC, Edwards wants to get back on the winning track and begin to work his way towards his next goal in 2019.
“I want to do this fight and if everything goes well and I’m not hurt, I want to turn back around and do that Phoenix card that’s coming up in February,” said Edwards. “That would be awesome and then bang out two more in the third or fourth quarter of the year. And then we can renegotiate our contract and see what we can do to make a big splash – a title run – next year in 2020.”