Leon Edwards spoke to us here at Pundit Arena about his memorable appearance at March’s UFC London, an event that saw him defeat Gunnar Nelson on the scorecards.
In this, the first of the two articles that will be released from the interview over the course of the coming days, Edwards gave us his thoughts on both the fight between himself and the Icelandic-born fighter and the skirmish that followed backstage shortly after.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Rocky is one of the most underrated fighters on the roster today.
With his UFC record of 9-2 and ongoing seven-fight win-streak, it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 27-years-old and likely not even in the prime of his career yet.
And in his matchup against Nelson, we saw the most polished and above all else, the most well-rounded version of Leon Edwards we have ever experienced.
His success in every facet of the fight on the night and, in particular, the grappling exchanges, saw him successfully nullify the BJJ wiz on his way to the win and in his eyes, he managed to do himself justice.
“Looking back on it now, I thought I did very well. I proved that I’m a well-rounded fighter.
“Being from the UK, we’re mostly known for our striking so to go out there and out-grapple a guy like Gunnar Nelson – who some consider to be one of the best grapplers in the UFC, let alone the division – honestly, I feel I did well and I’m in a good space now to hopefully challenge for a world-title soon.
“I’m only 27-years-old, I’m still learning, still growing, still getting better so it’s all good.”
Of course, the post-fight incident that saw Edwards struck repeatedly by his fellow elite welterweight Jorge Masvidal after the two shared words backstage was the main subject of conversation that followed each man in the wake of UFC London in March.
The UFC decided not to make the fight between the two in the end – despite it making sense on paper, a move that was no doubt made to prevent fighters from seeing the value in getting into such scuffles.
With that being said, Edwards promised Gamebred that their paths would eventually cross again – either inside the cage or beyond.
“I feel the same way that I did the night it happened. I wanted the fight that badly, you know what I mean? I don’t understand why they didn’t make it. I wanted it, the fans wanted it, everybody wanted it.
“His day will come and we will fight. Whether he wants to fight in a cage, octagon, or on the street – it’s going to happen either way.”
His resumé contains within it a number of victories that only seem to be looking better with age, names such as Bryan Barberena, Vicente Luque, and Donald Cerrone join Nelson’s as part of a run that only falls behind the reigning champion of the 170lb division Kamaru Usman in terms of its length.
And yet, right now, he still falls just outside of the top-10 – something that he understandably doesn’t agree with.
“It’s weird. I’ve got the most wins in the whole division and yet I’m ranked lower than guys who are on two-fight losing streaks – getting knocked out.
“It’s just a weird time. But like I said, I’ll stay focused. My goal is to be a world champion and I feel as though I’m one or two fights away from getting a world-title shot.
“I’ll just stay focused and keep winning.”
Part two of our interview with Leon Edwards will be released later this week.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena