Edwards, who retired from fighting and now works as an MMA analyst for Fox Sports, was returning to the octagon after a brief 1-1 PRIDE stint when he met Hominick in 2006 in Las Vegas. He already had 40 professional MMA bouts to his name at the time, while Hominick brought a 13-fight record into what was set to be his UFC debut.
In an upset big enough to spark fight-fixing accusations, Edwards ended up on the sour end of a second-round submission.
A lot happened after that.
Edwards went back to fighting both at PRIDE and the UFC – not to mention numerous others, like Strikeforce and EliteXC – adding another 26 fights to his record. He went won and lost to several other opponents.
But it’s that one setback that haunts him.
“That was the biggest deal,” Edwards told MMAjunkie Radio. “There are a lot of things I believe that were around that. I’ve spoken to a psychologist about it and been concerned about it. The reason why it was a big deal – before that, I went over to PRIDE. I came back, and the UFC was a different beast at this point. Like, instantly.
“I was the No. 1 guy when I left. Josh (Thomson) and I were supposed to be fighting for a belt. We were the best guys in the division. And when I came back, the arena – there were people at the weigh-ins. There weren’t people at the weigh-ins before that. It’s just bigger, it’s a different beast.”
The 40-year-old Edwards (42-22-1 MMA, 10-10 UFC) says he walked into the bout with Hominick (20-12 MMA, 3-4 UFC), now 35 and also retired, both comfortable with his kickboxing and confident that his ground skills were superior. Until it happened – the fateful moment he says a lot of his colleagues can relate to.
“There’s a moment in fights where you first feel your wind,” Edwards said. “At that moment, if you relax, and get through that, you’re good. But if you panic, that can kind of get straight to you. And I was like, ‘Oh (expletive). I’m getting tired.’ I remember thinking that. I was thinking, ‘OK, OK, I’ve got to change the game.’ I took him down, and I was in his butterfly guard. I use this pass all the time. I show it to everybody all the time.
“I’m trying to hit this pass, and it didn’t happen, so I was like, ‘Holy (expletive). I’m supposed to be so much better than this guy, and this is my pass. Why didn’t it work? What’s going on here? Oh, his leg is on my shoulder. Oh, don’t worry about that, because he’s still in his butterfly guard.’
“So I’m not even concerned with it. But why didn’t this pass work? This kid, I was supposed to be so much better than this kid on the ground, and then – oh (expletive), this triangle is real.’”
The triangle, as it was proven at the 1:52 mark of the second round, was real enough to end the fight. Finding himself tapping from that position, Edwards said, is something that still bothers him.
“At that point, I didn’t even know he got his leg out and got into position, because I was in another place,” Edwards said. “I wasn’t there in the fight. I was thinking about other (expletive), and I’m supposed to be better than this guy. I’m supposed to tap him.
“I’m supposed to get this fight to the ground and be able to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. And that wasn’t going on.”
It didn’t take long for Edwards to bounce back from the setback. Less than a month later, he went back to PRIDE to earn a unanimous decision over Seichi Ikemoto. But three months after that, a UFC 61 return against Joe Stevenson had him back on the losing column and out of the UFC.
Edwards would return to the octagon in 2010, going on to brighten up several weigh-ins with his often hilarious scale-snack gimmick. He amassed a 4-6 record in his final UFC run, before deciding to hang up his gloves.
But UFC 58 seems to have stuck with him.
“And then somebody questions me over that and say that I threw the fight, or even to say that I suck, because I panicked,” Edwards said. “I had a moment of weakness at a time when you’re not supposed to. I don’t know. I still have some stuff to work out to get through that. But it is what it is.
“I lost a lot of confidence then. And then I fought Joe Stevenson. (It) wasn’t my best fight the, and then having to leave the UFC at that point. That was a hard time, man. That was (expletive) (expletive).”
To hear more on Edwards’ account of his career-changing encounter with Hominick, check out the video above.
And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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