“It’s coming home!”: Leon Edwards ecstatic about his first title defense on English soil at UFC 286

Leon Edwards is finally fighting on home soil again, and this time he’s doing it as the UFC Champion.

The English fighter will make his first title defense in this Saturday’s main event UFC286 at the O2 Arena in London. Edwards (20-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) takes over Kamaru Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) in a trilogy fight and an instant championship rematch when the two last met at UFC 278 in August and Edwards delivered an angry headbutt KO.

This is a special moment in Edwards’ career, to say the least.

“London, what’s going on! Let’s go!” Edwards called into the microphone as he gathered the crowd in attendance at Thursday’s UFC 286 pre-fight press conference. “I am honored to be here. It was a long time coming. I’ve worked hard to get here and I’m sure I’ll make them proud on Saturday night.”


UFC 286 video: Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman face off in trilogy title rematch

Edwards had to go 10 fights unbeaten to get his shot at Usman in August. It’s been a long road for him.

However, “Rocky” was supposed to be throwing a coming-out party as early as 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled those plans, potentially prolonging his journey to the title. Edwards was scheduled to face former UFC champion Tyron Woodley in the main event of a fight night in London.

Edwards is grateful to be able to return to his home country in these completely different circumstances.

“It’s coming home, it’s coming home,” Edwards said. “It will mean the world. Like you said, it’s been a long time. This is my fourth time I think before The O2. I was supposed to make headlines here against Tyron Woodley and it was pushed back because of COVID.

“Now we are here, on March 18th I come back as a champion. And still. It’s going to be an amazing experience, it means the world to me. The road I drove to get here was tough, it was tough. No one gave me a chance, everyone counted me out. I’ve built character and it’s going to be good.”

Despite being a champion, there’s no denying that Edwards was on course to lose by clear decision in his second fight against Usman. The header KO saved his title hopes late in the fifth round. Edwards assures that at UFC 278 that night it was just a bad night at the office and also that the altitude in Denver played a part in the fight.

He believes he will prove to Usman on Saturday night that he is a technically superior fighter.

“Saturday night I’m going out there to show off, show off,” Edwards said. “I really believe this is my time and on Saturday night you will feel that. My last fight, although height was a big factor, I know he’s improved, I’m not wrong. I really think I’m better. I just can’t see him coming to the UK and taking that belt home with him. So let’s go! Let’s go!”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

Source : sports.yahoo.com

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