Leon Edwards speaks on Ian Garry’s expulsion from his gym: ‘They think it’s all about them more than the team’

Leon Edwards

Even as a UFC world champion, if Leon Edwards is late to the gym, he has to clean it.

That’s just one of the rules that ‘Rocky’ abides by at his gym, Team Renegade, in Birmingham, England. During a recent appearance on Up Front with Simon Jordan, the reigning welterweight titleholder spoke about the close-knit culture of his gym which has helped him become not only one of the best fighters in the world but a well-rounded and respectful human being.

The basic rules of the gym are if you’re late you clean the mats,” Edwards said. “To this day, if I’m late, even as a world champion, I clean. There’s a culture in our gym and it teaches the younger guys coming up under you respect and that you’re not bigger than the gym. Not bigger that what’s going on here in the gym.

“I feel like some people come to the gym and they’re kind of like… They think it’s all about them more than the gym and the team. We’re all working toward this one goal to be a world champion. One hand washes the other. You have to be disciplined. You have to have manners. I still abide by the rules and that makes me more relatable to the guys in the gym.”

Edwards’ comments come a few months after fellow UFC welterweight Ian Machado Garry was forced out of the gym after it became apparent that Garry was “not adding to the team’s culture”

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Garry was quick to blame the expulsion on Edwards, claiming the champ had “insecurities or doubts” about having another ranked contender in the same division inside the gym. Representatives with Team Renegade quickly snapped back, making it clear that Garry’s “nomadic” approach to training was simply not meshing with the culture they’ve worked hard to develop.

Leon Edwards Looks Back on Colby Covington’s Vile Comment About His Deceased Father

Leon Edwards’ last turn inside the Octagon came at UFC 295 in December when he returned to defend his welterweight title against divisional gatekeeper Colby Covington. Despite a long layoff and a mediocre 2-2 record in his last four fights, ‘Chaos’ managed to talk his way into yet another title shot that he ultimately fumbled when it came time to stop talking and start performing.

Ahead of their clash inside T-Mobile Arena, Covington drew the ire of fighters and fans alike after he made a particularly vile crack about Leon Edwards‘ deceased father. The comment nearly sparked a brawl between the two, but cooler heads prevailed and a scuffle was avoided.

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Looking back on the incident, ‘Rocky’ realizes that Covington was simply doing what he does to sell fights. But he also believes that there is a very fine line and ‘Chaos’ clearly crossed it in that instance.

“It took a lot for me to calm down, but initially… It’s not really drawing the line, but it just shows what kind of person he is. He’s a scumbag to use that to sell a fight,” Edwards said. “I know he does what he does. He talks sh*t, Donald Trump, and blah, blah, blah. I kind of roll with it, but when he goes that low, I think it just shows what type of human being you are. I don’t believe they should use the death of someone’s parents or anyone to sell fights. There’s nothing in it.

“It took a lot for me to refocus my brain and calm down and believe that he’s doing it just to draw me out so he can go out there and fight his fight.”

Following the altercation, Edwards got some calming words from his coaches and his family which helped him to go into the fight with a clear head rather than emotionally charged.

“The UFC did a great job of keeping us apart so I wasn’t able to see him or get to him before the fight,” Edwards continued. “I talked to my coaches, my mom, and everyone. They were like, calm down. Don’t play into his hands. Don’t go out there emotional and start scrapping with him and playing into his game plan.”

Asked if what Covington said made it more enjoyable to step inside the Octagon with him, Edwards couldn’t deny that the hurtful words from his challenger made it easier and much more desirable to punch him in the face come fight night.

“It makes it easier to fight him. It makes you look forward to hurting him,” he added. “I feel like it definitely helps. Give you more of that [desire] to physically hurt them so it helps as far as competing, but does it help selling the fight? For me, no. I feel like you shouldn’t do it.”

Though no official announcement has been made, Leon Edwards is expected to put his title on the line later this year against No. 2 ranked contender Belal Muhammad.