Leon Edwards squares off against Donald Cerrone in the main event of the UFC card in Singapore. The Birmingham born fighter is hoping that a win against “Cowboy” will help him bring the UFC back to his hometown.
Edwards attended the UFC’s inaugural show in Liverpool last month and was impressed by the reception that Darren Till received from his hometown crowd.
Edwards told ESPN, “I was sitting cage side for the main event, it was amazing to see the Liverpool fans supporting their fighter like that. That’s one of my dreams as well; bring the UFC back to Birmingham. After seeing that, it just motivated me even more. I want to experience that in my hometown.”
The UFC has previously hosted two shows in Birmingham when UFC 138 took place in the Midlands as well as UFC 89 before that.
Edwards recalled: “I was there because of my teammate, Vaughan Lee, who made his debut on that card, so I was watching it from up in the sticks in the arena,”
“I just remember how excited I was because that was my very first UFC event. That was like seven, eight years ago, so I was like nineteen years old, so to be at my first UFC event and see my teammate make his debut with how amazing the crowd was back then, I can’t imagine how it would be now.”
“It would be madness now. It would be amazing for me to bring it back to Birmingham and headline the show. That would be a dream come true.”
Comparisons can be drawn between the pathways that Edwards and Till followed and are following. Till also defeated Cerrone before his big show in his hometown. Edwards believes beating Cerrone will help him achieve his goal.
“That’s the plan,” said Edwards. “Go out there and perform and I should perform against ‘Cowboy’ and then bring an event back to Birmingham against another top 10 guy. I need to go out there and perform, put on a good show for the fans and make the UFC want to come back to Birmingham.”
Birmingham has got rising talent in the UFC and also in other promotions. Edwards’ younger brother, Fabian Edwards, is currently on the cusp of a title shot in BAMMA and is undefeated. Alongside Leon in the UFC is Tom Breese, who recently stopped Dan Kelly in Liverpool. The city also has fighters in Cage Warriors like Aidan Lee.
Cerrone has been a perennial presence in the UFC for a number of years, however, Leon doesn’t have so much admiration for his opponent.
“I’m not really a fan, I’ve been watching him, but I wouldn’t say I’m a fan. I feel that he’s probably at the end of his career, he’s almost 36 years old, he’s been in many wars, stopped many times. After being hurt and stopped so many times it takes a toll on your body, especially for a man that fights as often as he does, so I think he’s at the tail end of this career.”
Can Leon Edwards lead the charge for another UFC Birmingham show?