Darryl Dyck / AP
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
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At this point of his UFC career, heavyweight Dave Herman is known as much for one sarcastic remark as anything he’s accomplished in the octagon.
Herman proclaimed that jiu-jitsu doesn’t work before his fight with John Olav Einemo at Saturday’s UFC 131 fight card in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“I don’t think it does, honestly,” Herman said in the post-fight press conference.
But Herman, a 26-year-old from Indiana, is on his way to becoming known for much more than that comment with another performance or two like the one he had against Einemo.
Herman was able to keep the fight standing against Einemo, a jiu-jitsu ace, and score a second round TKO victory. It came after eight minutes where the two endured the best strikes the other could offer with little regard for safety and no concern for defense.
Herman and Einemo, who were both making their UFC debut, secured a $70,000 Fight of the Night bonus for their performance.
“The payday definitely made my year,” Herman said. “I was just excited to be here — and especially, first UFC on the main card — it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’m really excited about it.”
Herman, who has spent the rest of his career fighting for smaller promotions, improved his record to 21-2. One of his two losses, however, came via disqualification for throwing an illegal knee.
Although Herman would rank in the bottom half of the 24 fighters on the UFC heavyweight roster, that’s exactly what makes UFC President Dana White happy.
The UFC didn’t have fighters of Herman’s caliber that deep in the division as recently as two years ago. White specifically labeled Herman as the type of fighter who helped make that change and, in turn, strengthen the whole organization.
“When you have a real good heavyweight fight,” White said, “that’s what gets people’s attention.”
No one could describe Einemo vs. Herman as unentertaining. Einemo, a 260-pound Norwegian who goes by the nickname “The Viking," took an action-packed first round on two of three judges’ scorecards.
He came out strong in the second and looked to have Herman dazed after landing a big hook and following it with a knee. But Herman, who claimed he was never truly hurt, came back with a knee to drop Einemo on the other side of the cage and finished him with a barrage of punches on the ground.
“Once I started hitting him with big shots,” Herman said, “I knew I could finish him.”
Herman fits in with the recent shift of smaller heavyweights finding success in the UFC. Less than a year ago, Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin faced off for the belt at UFC 116 and both had to drop weight to get to 265 pounds. Now, Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos will fight for the title and both will likely come in at less than 245 pounds.
Herman weighed in at a svelte 233 pounds in Vancouver. He looked so small in comparison to a fighter like Einemo that a reporter asked Herman if he would ever consider dropping to light heavyweight after the bout.
Never one to shy away from sharing his genuine feelings, Herman gave a comical response.
“I really don’t like cutting weight,” Herman said. “If I did, it would be just to fight people who are probably just a strong and really quick. So, I’ll stick with fat people I think.”