After past bout schedulings against Khamzat Chimaev fell out, no. 3 ranked UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards finally makes his return to the octagon after nearly two years away from the sport.
Edwards will be welcomed back to the octagon by none other than the always game no. 13 ranked Belal “Remember the Name” Muhammad.
Despite the fact that Edwards has been on such a significant layoff, it is rather abnormal to see a match-up between a no. 3 ranked and a no. 13 ranked contender in any division.
Speaking at virtual media day for UFC Vegas 21, Edwards said regardless of whom he was facing, he just wanted a fight.
“The sport was built on fighters fighting. Now everyone’s divas and following the social media era,” Edwards said. “I’m the old school. I’m offering all these guys to fight. I’m number three, but I’m fighting number 13.”
Edwards’ last fight against Rafael dos Anjos in 2019 in a coronavirus-less world had 10,000 fans, meaning his match-up against Muhammad will be the first fight for Edwards with no fans.
But for “Rocky,” he said that might actually work in his favor.
“I think it might be better for me. I’ve been preparing in an empty gym for a long time,” Edwards said. “I think it’ll be better to focus, to be able to hear your corner more clearly. As you know, I’m like a student of the game. I adapt easily, so for me to be able to hear my corner, it’s gonna be vital.”
Leon Edwards breaks down Belal Muhammad
Edwards also provided some analysis regarding the position Muhammad is in coming into their main event match-up.
“He just fought a month ago, so he’s in shape. It’s his first main event, so it’s a big opportunity for him to step up and fight a guy like me,” Edwards said. “I’m a totally different fighter from the last guy he fought and I’ve been preparing for his style for the last six months, so I am looking forward to it.”
This is an extremely pivotal moment for Edwards’ career.
The Birmingham product is on an eight-fight winning streak. He has not suffered a loss since 2015, when he lost a unanimous decision to the current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
With an impressive victory, UFC president Dana White said Edwards will be next in line for a title shot.
“Rocky” controls his own destiny heading into the main event at UFC Vegas 21.
Watch Leon Edwards defeat Rafael dos Anjos ahead of UFC Vegas 21 headliner
(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)