UFC – Leon Edwards: Tyron Woodley Doesn’t Want To Fight Me
The fourth-ranked UFC welterweight Leon Edwards is currently on an eight fight win streak, defeating Rafael dos Anjos in his last match at UFC San Antonio, nine months ago.
Despite the impressive run inside the Octagon, a title shot has still alluded Edwards. Speaking to the South China Morning Post, ‘Rocky’ stated that wins don’t mean all that much anymore.
“When I first came into the UFC, I would have thought the more you win, the closer you get to a title shot. Now I’ve realised it’s not about wins,” he said. “You get guys fighting for world titles coming off losses. The sport’s in a very weird place. Wins don’t mean everything.”
A win against the former champion Tyron Woodley, who he was scheduled to fight in London on March 21th, would have seen him take a giant step closer to a title shot. However, the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Edwards was clearly sad for the missed opportunity.
“I was heartbroken. Since I got to the UFC, my dream was to headline my home show. To have that taken away from me on a week’s notice, I was devastated.”
The 28-year-old Brit has been pleading for a re-booking of the fight, but Woodley has been calling out the UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, and Colby Covington since the minute the fight was cancelled.
“He made every excuse in the book [the first time], and not once has he called my name since the fight was postponed. He’s been calling out everyone else apart from me. He doesn’t want to fight me. He’s getting up there in age. I think he knows that, if I beat him, where does he go? He’d be on a back-to-back losing streak and I reckon he knows I’ve got all the tools to beat him. That’s why he’s running from it,” Edwards concluded.
Knowing that he could be one big win away from the title shot, Edwards knows that Woodley or Covington would make the perfect opponent right now.
“I would love to shut him up, I’ve never liked the guy,” Edwards said of Covington. I feel it’s a great match-up. He’s like Usman but less powerful. He’s a pace fighter. He has the cardio, he wants to keep the pace up and break you that way. I think if you don’t let him push you back, he’s quite easy to beat. Technically, he’s just a standard fighter. I’m looking for a title shot. If I have to do one more before the title shot, then Colby or Woodley would be perfect.”
The last time Edwards lost a fight was in 2015, against Usman. He reflected on the circumstances behind that bout, and explained why the rematch would be different.
“The first time I fought him I was a young kid. I uprooted my camp, I went to [American Kickboxing Academy] in the States. That was my first time going to AKA and it kind of didn’t agree with me,” Edwards said. “My whole camp was focused on being defensive, not attacking. I went into the fight with a defensive mindset and I didn’t do what I would normally do to win fights.
“Since then I’ve come back to my hometown in Birmingham and reunited with my team. I’ve not lost since. My striking is obviously better than his, but as far as wrestling goes, that’s how he won the first fight, and I’ve improved leaps and bounds. I’ll be ready for whatever he brings to the table.”
In the end, it’s all about getting that strap for Edwards.
“I’ll be a world champion hopefully by the end of this year, if not, early or middle next year. It’s going to feel amazing,” he said. “It’s what I’ve been working towards since I came into the game at the age of 16. I’ve dreamt about being a world champion for many years now.
“I sacrificed a lot in my teenage years and I’m still sacrificing to achieve my dream. It’s going to mean everything for me. Not just for me, for the kids back in my hometown, for the gym I come from, to motivate them: you can achieve greatness coming from where you come from.”
Who do you think Leon Edwards should fight next?