Leon Edwards: I Don’t Need To Fight Someone Like Wonderboy Thompson

Thompson Edwards
Adam Hagy - USA TODAY Sports & Noah K. Murray

Despite two-time welterweight title challenger, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson’s recent, pleasant callout – streaking division contender, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards is far from sold on a long-rumoured pairing with the striking ace.

Edwards, who’s won his last eight straight, has so far, fruitlessly campaigned for a shot at welterweight gold – with fellow streaking challenger, Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns leapfrogging him with a clash opposite soon to be common-opposition, Kamaru ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman lined up for UFC 256 on December 12. 

The Birmingham based contender was scheduled to headline a UFC Fight Night London event in March opposite former division best, Tyron Woodley – with a victory conceivably believed as more than enough to instate him into a re-run with Usman. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forcing the ultimate cancellation of that event, and Burns scoring a May win over Woodley, alas here we are.

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Edwards, whose most recent win came at UFC Fight Night San Antonio in July of last year against former lightweight best, Rafael dos Anjos has yet to step in the Octagon since then, but isn’t interested in clashing with the above mentioned, Thompson who last appeared at UFC 244 in November in a unanimous decision shutout when paired with Vicente Luque.

As far as (Stephen Thompson) Wonderboy, he got knocked out like a fight ago,” Edwards said to¬†MMA Fighting. “(Anthony) Pettis knocked him out one fight ago. If I go out there right now and I fight Wonderboy and I beat Wonderboy the UFC will be like, ‘let’s go one more in the top-five and then we’ll go for a title.’ They wouldn’t give me a title shot straight away.

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For me to get to the world title, which is my aim and my dream, is to beat one of those top-four (contenders). I have to fight someone in the top-four to get my title shot. I’ve done all the Wonderboy fights. I’ve been there, done it. I’m on an eight-fight win streak now. I don’t need to go fight someone like Wonderboy. He does nothing for my career. He’s coming down, I’m going up. If he gets one or two more wins, then I’ll consider it.

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While Edwards is adamant on an opponent in the top-four next, that prospect seems unlikely. The aforenoted, #2 ranked Burns is already scheduled to meet champion, Usman – while UFC president, Dana White has claimed it’s very possible the promotion link arch-rivals the #1 rated, Colby Covington, and the #4 seated, Jorge Masvidal next.

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.