The 38-year-old former UFC lightweight champ, who has only fought twice since 2009, has had a rocky road the past three years with injuries forcing him out of fights with Gleison Tibau, Josh Neer and Jim Miller.
MMAHQ caught up with Sherk (36-4-1) during a recent seminar tour in the UK and “The Muscle Shark” said that he is planning on getting back in the Octagon next year and that he would like to take one final run at the lightweight strap before hanging up his four ounce gloves for good.
“It’s a goal definitely and I’ve still got the skills and abilities to get back there up at the top. I’ve got to get back in there and get back to action as soon as I can. I know that next year will be very important to my career and to how I’m remembered in the sport and I’m ready to get back in there and start making a big difference in that division,” Sherk says. “I need to get in the Octagon once or twice in the next year, get some wins and work my way back up to the lightweight title.”
Standing in his way, besides the current crop of contenders will be the current champ, Frankie Edgar — the last man to beat Sherk at UFC 98 in 2009. This time around, though, he says he feels like he has “the answer” to beating Edgar.
“I’ve progressed a huge amount since then but so has he so there’s definitely another great, exciting fight in there. As a fighter you have to be confident about your skills but also objective and I honestly think that I’ve got the tools to beat Edgar but that’s my opinion,” he explains. “The last fight was great though and I know that, whatever happened, the fans would get an exciting fight.”
Whether or not he’s paying his respects or setting the stage for an eventual fight if Bendo beats Edgar when the two meet in Japan, Sherk points to Ben Henderson as being one of the divisions top young prospects and says that UFC’s 155-pound class is one of the most stacked in the industry.
“The UFC lightweight division is the toughest in the world to be honest with you and it keeps getting tougher. The UFC bought over those WEC guys and I mean Ben Henderson’s looking like a total stud at the moment,” Sherk points out. “He’s just beaten two of the toughest guys in the division. He came out of nowhere and nobody expected that so he’s a perfect illustration of just how tough this division is and it gets tougher day by day.”