Against the odds, Edwards capped off this past weekend’s Utah-held pay-per-view, which he headlined opposite Kamaru Usman, with a moment that will be replayed over and over again.
From the commentary, which saw suggestions that “Rocky” had resigned himself to defeat, and the motivational corner work to the head kick that closed the show just as Jon Anik provided an appropriately timed comment about the cloth from which the Brit is cut, the stars aligned for one of the most memorable championship victories in UFC history.
Having had an emotional crowning moment in the Octagon, a tearful post-fight interview, and a celebration atop the cage wall with the famous Rocky theme, Edwards’ joy and emotion continued backstage, where he was put in touch with his mother.
Someone cutting onions?
Edwards: “I Told You Mom. I Told You I’d Do It.”
After being handed a phone by brother Fabian Edwards — who has title ambitions of his own over in Bellator MMA — that had their mom on the line, the emotion overwhelmed the Jamaican-born Englishman as he spoke to the woman who helped him escape a troubled childhood and pushed him into mixed martial arts.
Thanks to ESPN and UFC cameras, fans get to see the heartwarming moment, with clips showing Edwards repeatedly saying, “I told you I’d do it, mom,” as jubilant screams come through the phone.
In a pre-fight interview with BT Sport’s Nick Peet, Edwards went into detail about his life growing up and the impact that his mom had on guiding him away from a criminal lifestyle.
“She was the one that got me into MMA,” Edwards said. “Even though she didn’t do it for a career path, she did it to basically save her son from getting involved deeper into going to prison, or dead, or stabbed, or I could have been doing, like I said, life in prison. You know, so she did it from that part of her heart, but by God’s grace it turned out to be a career for me.”
With that in mind, it was certainly understandable to see a wave of emotion hit Edwards as he spoke to her for the first time after becoming only the second-ever UK fighter to have UFC gold wrapped around his waist.
While being doubted is nothing new for Edwards, whose journey to the top in the UFC is up there among the most inspirational stories in the promotion, beating the odds and proving people wrong is also not alien for “Rocky,” something he showed on an unforgettable night in Utah.
What did you make of Leon Edwards’ championship crowning at UFC 278?