Saturday, January 29, 2022

Leon Edwards Hungry To Get Back In The Cage After Nearly Two Years

After a series of misfortunate events, UFC contender Leon Edwards is eager to get back into the octagon following a whopping 600-day layoff.

Amidst the pandemic, Leon Edwards was dramatically affected by the virus after it ravaged most of England. Specifically, Edwards suffered lasting effects of COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time but also endured the heavy lockdowns in Europe. After being pulled from a No.1 contender’s bout with Tyron Woodley at the start of the pandemic, the Englishmen would contract the virus and be unable to compete for the entirety of 2020.

Since Edwards wasn’t the most active athlete on the roster in the first place, it’s now been a whole 600 days since “Rocky” last strapped on the gloves.

Leon Edwards Returns From 600-Day Layoff

The 29-year old welterweight spoke to reporters about how he’s feeling into the lead up of one of the biggest fights of his career against a rising contender, Belal Muhammad.

“It feels amazing to be back,” Leon Edwards told reporters at a pre-fight news conference. “It’s been a long year-and-a-half. It feels at home, though, since we came to Vegas last week. It feels natural. It feels like what I’ve been missing and what I’ve been working toward. I’m looking forward to competing Saturday night.”

Despite the worries of ring rust, Leon Edwards couldn’t be more excited to get back into the cage, and his interviews reflect the positivity in his attitude. Rightly so, considering the Jamaican-born athlete is on an incredible eight-fight win streak in a stacked division. Even though he was set to fight Khamzat Chimaev prior to Muhammad, Edwards believes the two are similar in fighting styles.

“It didn’t even matter,” Leon Edwards said. “I feel all these guys anyway in the top 15 are pretty similar. If they’re going to fight me, they’re coming to shoot for takedowns. Khamzat is a wrestler. Belal is similar. He’s got a wrestling background. Once Khamzat fell out for the third time, I thought, ‘I’m not waiting again for another rescheduled fight. Let’s go.’

Leon Edwards | UFC
Leon Edwards Connects With Head Kick In Most Recent Fight. Credit: UFC.Com

“Belal stepped up. The first option obviously (was) Colby Covington. The UFC came to me and said, ‘Would you fight him?’ I said yes. They went to him. He said no. We went down the list. Everyone was either injured or turned the fight down. Belal stepped up.”

It would appear the striker from Birmingham is ready to seize a huge opportunity. If Leon Edwards is able to accomplish an emphatic win over Muhammad, UFC president Dana White has already claimed that would earn Edwards a title shot. However, we all know that just because White said it, does not mean it will manifest itself into reality.

Who do you think will win in the welterweight battle between Belal Muhammad and Leon Edwards?

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Doug Murray
Doug A Murray is a freelance writer that contributes to a variety of websites. With experience in other sporting fields, his primary focus is on boxing and mixed martial arts.