Ed West (12-4) is a former IFL veteran who has seen peaks and valleys during his MMA career, and now once again seeks to climb the mountain, starting in his own backyard, Tucson, AZ.
West is pro fighter trying to claw his way to the top of the sport. He is working hard to gain the attention of larger promotions all the while keeping his tools sharp at the regional level.
Ed is a fighter with a wealth of character, skill, and determination.
It's quite surprising he is still seeking that break to prove his worth to MMA. Are you listening Reed Harris?
After a grueling layoff due to various ailments, Ed is happy to finally have a title fight lined up with Rage In The Cage. Also, he hopes that he can make big enough waves to wind up where his talent level truly warrants, perhaps in the WEC or another big name promotion.
West was kind enough to share some thoughts on his current predicament, his IFL stint, and what about MMA appeals to him as a man and a fighter.
When asked why MMA was the sport he chose, West had this to say, "I grew up romanticising the warrior image. I grew up on the Van Damme movies. I always thought that fighting in one form or another was was interesting."
West went on to say, "I mean it has only influenced every facet of human nature as we know it. We wouldn't have anything we have if we didn't fight each other for it. I think that fighting is something that is very important to who we are as human beings. It's such an important part of our nature, the human animal."
The fighting isn't the only thing that appeals to West. The nature of the game itself holds weight as well. "I really think it's the ultimate sport. You can do anything you want and at the end of the day there are no excuses."
West went on to explain, "You can't be like oh the quarter back didn't make the pass, you're the only one in there. It's all about you, you accept all the risk, you get all the glory or all the defeat, it's all you. You have nobody else to blame. I see it in a romantic image, two men enter, one man leaves, and you get to see who the better athlete is."
West discussed in detail why he chose to chase his dream in the IFL, even if he would walk through the door at a weight disadvantage. Even as a natural 135-pound fighter, the pros outweighed the cons in his mind.
West explained, "It was back in 2006 when I got the call to do the IFL. I was 9-1 as a pro. I was doing really good, I was basically tearing through all the local competition. I got a call to fight to in the IFL at 155."
West expressed what initially gave him pause, "I was really hesitant about fighting at 155 but then he told me how much it would pay and I was like OK, I'm sold. I'd never seen the kind of money that they paid me."
The IFL was a far cry from the norm West had been accustomed to. "I mean my first MMA fight I had was 100 bucks and some tickets. All of a sudden their approach was to put me on TV and pay me thousands of dollars. I'd be an idiot to say no."
Money was not the only motivating factor for West. "On top of that, I also felt that it was time for me to take the next step. I was beating everybody locally, I wasn't going to take my career to the next level if I stayed in Arizona and beat up everybody here."
So he decided to jump in, "I felt that what I needed to do was take the next step and take really hard fights, tough fights, on the big stage."
West's IFL career was mired with unfortunate circumstances and unforeseen difficulties. Giving up a lot of weight to his opponents, West found himself at a disadvantage. Even in three decision losses, West showed the sport of MMA a lot more about him than the three L's that would eventually find their way to his record.
West, even though often the smaller warrior, more than held his own, if not downright made a strong case in his fights against Chris Horedecki, Erik Owings, and Savant Young. Not too many fighters at 155 can say they gave Horedecki a run for his money, West is probably the only natural 135-pounder who can say that.
The unfortunate result of West's strong showing against top 155-pound fighters in the IFL, was that three losses are still three losses.
Unfortunately, it also doesn't take into consideration the weight differential. The game and skillful fighter that West truly is does not shine through in those numbers, but they hold a lot of weight to matchmakers at the highest levels of the sport.
Another unfortunate result of West's strong showing in the IFL was that everyone back home was watching. West had already made a name for himself as the man to beat in the Arizona desert at his lower weight.
Now after showing that he could hold his own at 155 in the IFL, no one wanted to step up to the plate at his more natural weight. The result was that fighters willing to step in a cage with Mr. West were more scarce than he would have liked.
A difficult puzzle to solve. But solve it he will.
There is no quit in West, he's not the type to lay down. He knows what he is working with, and knows it is just a matter of time before that talent and quality shine through the details that currently hold him back.
The first step comes when he challenges for the 135-pound Rage In The Cage Championship on April 12 in front of his home crowd. "I'm looking forward to doing a hometown show. I'm going to have a bunch of people watching me get that belt."
Rest assured Mr. West, I will be sitting cage side watching you win it, and I can't wait. It should be fun to watch as West returns from that which ailed him and kept him out of commission.
When he gets on a roll, it shouldn't take long for anyone with half a lick of sense in this sport to snatch him up and put him to work under the brightest lights of MMA.
Thank you to Ed West for taking the time to share his thoughts and experiences with us. Good luck to you sir, not that you will need it; just don't hurt 'em Ed.