Rising UFC welterweight Leon Edwards has racked up five straight victories inside the Octagon since suffering his last loss to Kamaru Usman in December 2015.
Now, Edwards has a shot at breaking into the welterweight division in a big way if he can pick up a victory over longtime veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. He’ll main event UFC Singapore in a welterweight contest opposite Edwards this weekend (Sat. June 23, 2018).
Edwards has been trying his best during his current hot streak to get himself noticed. In fact, at UFC London this past March following his win over Peter Sobotta, Edwards called out fellow rising English star Darren Till.
Till, however, has gone on to bigger and brighter things now ranking as the UFC’s No. 2 welterweight following a win over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. While putting in work inside the Octagon is obviously a must, Edwards recognizes that you need to stand out on the microphone as well (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“It’s not just about fighting now; it’s about talking,” Edwards said. “That’s not really my thing, but it’s what you need to do. I have to go in there and make a impression in the fight and then I’ve got to make an impression when I speak after the fight.”
Edwards hopes that a win over Cowboy will earn him the recognition he feels he deserves. After Till defeated Cerrone he went on to headline a card in Liverpool against Stephen Thompson. The 26-year-old Englishman is hoping for the same treatment:
“It’s gotta be the biggest fight of my career to date,” said Edwards. “Cowboy is a legend of the sport and this is my first headline fight with the UFC, so it’s a very big deal. I see a win here opening the door for fights further up the rankings, that’s the plan anyway.
“We saw Till getting a fight in Liverpool after he beat Cerrone. I hope a win here will give the UFC a reason to get over to Birmingham again — it would be dream for me to fight in my hometown. This is the win that will hopefully see me get the credit I deserve.
“I’m on a five-fight win streak now so I think it’s about time that I get my chance against guys at the top of the division.”
The welterweight division has seen a changing of the guard, so the speak, in recent months. Former UFC lightweight title holder Rafael dos Anjos dominated former division champion Robbie Lawler, Colby Covington has risen to interim champion level and Darren Till is fresh off a win over Thompson.
Edwards feels that a win over Cerrone will put him right into the top ten, and he wants to show he’s a part of the new movement of fighters that will take the division over:
“The older guys are fading out now. I’m young, I’m just 26 years old. I think everyone else in rankings is over 30. It’s the changing of the guard for sure, and I’ve got to show that I’m a part of that new movement. That’s what I’m focused in on ahead of this fight. I’ve got to show everyone that I’m a threat in this division,” Edwards explained.
“These older heads are there for the picking now,” he continued. “They’ve still got the name, they’ve still got the clout, but they are maybe more beatable than they once were. They’ve had their turn at the top of the division and now it’s our turn. Everybody knows Cerrone, and by putting him away it puts me straight into that top 10.”
As far as how he plans to beat Cowboy, Edwards has located a keyhole in the ex-lightweight title challenger’s game – he doesn’t do well under pressure:
“He’s fine when he’s having his own way, but every time he’s put under pressure he crumbles every time. That’s not a secret, everybody knows that about him,” Edwards said.