Fighters with local roots seek leg up in UFC

Smith, Herman will square off in event televised nationally

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Trevor Smith is convinced that he's not too old to make a splash in a young man's sport.

Not that 32 is old, mind you. But in the UFC, where fighters get paid to win and entertain, it's not exactly young.

"I definitely feel like I'm in my prime," said Smith, a graduate of Mark Morris High School in Longview who lived in Vancouver for about five years as a youth. He will make his UFC debut on Saturday in Seattle.

To make his mark, Smith will have to beat Vancouver native Ed Herman. Herman also is 32, but has been competing professionally for a decade. Herman was runner-up on the made-for-TV Ultimate Fighter 3, and has a record of 20-7 with one no contest (7-5 in UFC).

The 185-pound bout between Herman and Smith is on the undercard of UFC on Fox 8 at KeyArena in Seattle. The fight is scheduled to be the second of the bouts shown live on the FX network broadcast that begins at 2 p.m.

The Seattle show is headlined by a UFC flyweight (125 pounds) title fight between Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga that will highlight a four-fight main card to be shown on FOX (KPTV 12) starting at 5 p.m.

Though Smith and Herman are both coming off losses, the winner could find himself considered for a main card fight in the future.

Smith and Herman both are strong grapplers. Smith was a high school state champion at Mark Morris and wrestled at Iowa State. Herman is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

Smith brings a 10 win, three loss mark as a professional mixed martial arts fighter into this fight. He had enough success as a Strikeforce fighter to get this shot, despite losing his previous two fights.

He hasn't won a high-level fight since November 2011. Because of a broken hand, he didn't fight between January 2012 and January 2013.

Herman also is hungry for a win. His last win was in February 2012. Most recently, he lost to Ronaldo Souza in the first round of a Strikeforce fight that Herman took on short notice.

Herman, who now trains in Fort Collins, Colo., told the website MMAJunkie.com that it is difficult dealing with losses and the questions that arise about a fighter's career path.

Herman told MMAJunkie that he believes he can wear out Smith.

When Smith wins, it's often early. He has nine submission wins and one by knockout since turning pro in 2009.

Smith said he prefers not to study an opponent too much so that he can enter the octagon to beat a faceless foe.

The way Smith sees it, his time has come.

"I've never been more calm for a fight," Smith said. "I've put in the time. I'm ready."