With UFC 286 just over two weeks away, featherweight prospect Lerone Murphy is ready to go, but he still hasn’t found an opponent willing to step up.
After a substantial time away from the octagon, it seemed as though Murphy’s return to home soil was confirmed against his English counterpart Nathaniel Wood.
Although with a month to spare, Nathaniel Wood disappointingly announced that he had to pull out from the fight due to a sliced knee he suffered in training. Wood described it as a “freak accident” during wrestling practice, and says that movement in his knee is severely limited until his stitches are removed.
Based on Murphy’s recent tweet, he may not see it the same way Wood does.
Murphy’s last fight came in October of 2021, when he managed to knock out the highly experienced Makwan Amirkhani in the second round. He currently holds an 11-0-1 record featuring seven knockouts, with six of them coming in the very first round.
Lerone Murphy LowKickMMA Exclusive
Speaking in a recent interview with LowKickMMA’s Tim Wheaton, Murphy says he feels like he’s in ideal shape and on schedule with his weight cut.
Without any limitations on who he may stand across come March 18, Murphy says if it was up to him the obvious answer would be Conor McGregor. He praised McGregor’s legacy in the UFC and says he began watching the UFC during McGregor’s early featherweight dominance to stardom, stating:
“That’s the biggest fight in the world. Everyone knows that, no one needs to shy away from it.”
Murphy also previewed the exciting trilogy headlining the O2 arena for UFC 286 and backed his fellow countryman Leon Edwards to conclude his business with Kamaru Usman and come out with a victory. He believes that after the incredible run Usman managed at welterweight, running into the catastrophe that occurred in the final round against Edwards will determine his future.
“You’re not gonna come back the same fighter.”
He attributes his prediction to the massive advantage he could have in his home nation, and the elimination of the high altitude which Murphy believes may have gassed Edwards out in their previous matchup.
Murphy also believes that Usman should’ve taken at least one year off to recover from the shocking knockout at UFC 278.
Looking back at his own career, Murphy does not care who the UFC offers him, as long as he finds an opponent.
He rates himself highly among his featherweight company, and if he manages to find an opponent and convincing win on March 18, then he may very well find himself ranked among the top 15.
Murphy understands he is still human and has questioned himself just days away from fights before.
“Why did I pick this life?”
He has kept his head up despite the missing opponent he’s been looking for, and has kept a positive mindset by training as if his matchup was confirmed.
“With preparation comes confidence.”