Hurtsbad Exclusive: Ed 'Wild' West Discusses Bellator Bantamweight Tournament
Bellator fighting championships has really carved a highly compelling niche in main stream mixed martial arts with their weekly installments of both feature MMA matchups and tournament style events.
Their willingness to showcase MMA of all angles is what really sets them apart at the elite levels of the sport. Both lower weight and traditional weight mixed martial artists are showcased, as well as an impressive stable of female fighters.
Recently Bellator added their first ever Bantamweight tournament to the mix of already impressive aspects within their ranks. That tournament has shown some promising talent thus far.
One of the most impressive competitors has been Ed “Wild” West, who advanced to the second round with an impressive and hard fought victory over Brian Goldsby.
After his first win of the tournament, West sat down with Hurtsbad.com to discuss both his victory and his future in the tournament.
After taking Goldsby to a decision win, West now faces the heavy handed and very scrappy Jose Vega in the second round of what is shaping up to be a very competitive bantamweight tourney.
As for his victory over a downright gritty Goldsby, Ed had this to say about their match up looking back:
“I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun in a fight. I’ve got a lot of good feedback over the last couple weeks, everyone seemed to like it. Especially since the rest of the bantamweight fights that night tended to be grappling matches.”
Regarding his opponent in particular, “I was really happy that Goldsby and I were able to go out there, our styles really complimented each other. We were able to put on a really good show, I was really happy about it.”
In the second round the two found themselves in a bit of a face to face stalemate on the ground and began to strike each other. They then proceeded to bark and growl in each other’s faces. It was quite entertaining and rare to see. When asked what that was all about, while laughing it off, Ed had this to say:
“I don't know what that was about. That was something that just happened. I went for my knee bar that I have been practicing. I was really happy that I was able to hit it as well as I did during the fight. I went for it once or twice. It was at the end of the second round where I hit it perfectly, I got the knee bar and I actually popped his knee a couple times but he didn't tap out.”
Ed proceeded to explain, “He hipped out real hard and I turned it into a heel hook and we were maybe less than a foot away from each other, and he was trying to punch me and fight my hands, so I let go off the heel hook and started hitting him back. We were face to face and he kind of growled at me, sure enough I yelled back at him and growled back.”
“I can’t explain it, its one of those spontaneous things that happens when you've got good chemistry between two fighters. We were in the zone, I can’t explain it but we were just having a really good time in there.”
West has fought long and hard to make his way back to the big stage and showcase what many in the MMA realm already know he boasts, a world class MMA ability. He talked about how it felt to get back in there and advance to the second round of the Bellator tournament.
“It feels fantastic. I'm just so happy that I finally am able to get a chance to get back on TV, and put on some really good exciting fights on a big stage. I’ve been stuck on the local scene for so long, and I’ve been putting on good fights. But now I’ve got a chance to be on TV and millions of people get to watch me kick people in the head now.”
West talked about his next opponent Jose Vega. “He’s a tough dude, but all the guys in the tournament are tough dudes. All the guys in the Bellator tournaments are pretty tough. I can’t really look at one guy and say this guy sucks. I certainly think I matchup better with Jose Vega than Brian Goldsby.”
West went on to say, “He definitely poses his own set of challenges, but I think overall it poses a much better fight for me stylistic wise. He’s a lot shorter than Goldsby, he doesn't really throw as many types of strikes. He has really good boxing, he has good kicks and punches but he doesn't move as much or have as good of foot work.”
West also was sure to give Vega some credit as well. “Overall I’ve been fighting short stocky wrestlers my whole career. I’m pretty confident in this fight. I'm not taking him lightly by any means, hes definitely a good fighter. But style wise, I think I match up really good with him.”
When asked what fight fans can expect from Ed “Wild” West in the second round of the tournament he explained that caution and technique will lead the way now that people are hip to his stand up being as dangerous as it is.
“I’m not going to take risks. I'm going to be on the bike, picking my shots, and be smart about what I do. I'm sure Jose Vega knows now that the cat’s out of the bag that I’ve got really good stand up. I told everybody that I have the best stand up around, and nobody believed me because all my wins are by submission.”
He added, “Everyone thought Goldsby was going to be the next Mike Tyson of the bantamweight division. After I went out and took him out standing up, everyone is kind of eyeballing my stand up game. I'm sure Vega was watching, I'm sure he took note, and I'm sure he is sweating bullets right now too.”
While West respects his next opponent’s abilities, he feels they wont add up to any more of a disadvantage than he has already seen in his fighting career.
“There is no way he is going to submit me, there is no way he is not going to knock me out, it’s just not going to happen. I mean I’ve fought so many bigger better dudes who have had a better chance of doing both of those things, he’s not going to be the one to do it. But he is a good fighter, I just have to stay on the bike, stay busy, cut my angles, pick my shots, and I'm definitely coming out with the W.”
Carrying that type of confidence in his abilities, combined with the support of world class fighters like his coaches Joey Rivera and George Roop, it becomes harder and harder to count Ed West out.
He has a deep following in his home town of Tucson, a small army to be quite honest. It has become apparent early on to all of them that their very own Ed West is the real deal and more than capable of putting himself right in the mix at the top of the bantamweight division.
It is only a matter of time before he is recognized and respected for the great fighter that many MMA enthusiasts already knew he was. It should be exciting to watch him continue to earn that respect and credibility.
Good luck out there “Wild” West.
For the full interview which includes an interview with George Roop of the WEC visit The Truth Hurts at Hurtsbad.com
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