UFC welterweight star Leon Edwards was in town for a workshop at Mixed Martial Arts gym TT MMA this week, and DubaiLAD had the chance to talk to him about a potential fight with Jorge Masvidal, his seven-fight win streaks, sticking to his UK roots and on the bad blood between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Welcome to Dubai Leon! What are your impressions of the city?
Yeah, this is my first time in Dubai. It’s a beautiful city. I’m looking forward to coming back again in the near future. To see a gym like this in Dubai is perfect for me. I love it here.
You’re currently on a seven-fight win streak, with your last two fights coming against two formidable opponents such as Donald Cerrone and Gunnar Nelson. We know you have been campaigning for a fight with Jorge Masvidal after his win versus Darren Till. Considering you’re on a seven-fight win streak, coupled with the drama that happened between you and Masvidal backstage, surely, this is the fight UFC needs to make for you. How close is this fight to being made?
I think this fight should be next. From what I’m hearing, they’ll probably make Jorge Masvidal vs Ben Askren. I think that’s the fight they’re trying to make. But I feel the fans and the media want me to fight Masvidal in July. So when I first finish my holiday, I’ll go back and speak with my management team and to the UFC, and I’ll go from there. But I think that fight should be my next.
You’ve been vying for the spot as UK’s number one martial artist, with Darren Till losing his last two fights and Michael Bisping retired. Where do you think you currently stand?
I feel I’m number one in the UK now. I’m fighting these tough guys and I’m beating these guys and I’m on a seven-fight win streak in the hardest division in MMA. I feel I’ve pulled off number one.
Would you consider fighting Darren Till in a best British grudge match?
We’re not too friendly as we used to. My aim is to be a world champion. I’m not really focusing on Darren Till. It is to be a world champion.
We know you’re focused on a road map towards the title. How far do you think you are from a title shot?
I feel I’m one or two fights away. I think I’ve got a fight in July, and then by the end of the year or early next year, I should be, and I could be the world champion.
Photograph credit: Sherdog
A lot of British fighters have moved to America to hone their skills but you’ve stuck to your roots. What made you decide to do that?
I’ve travelled before, even trained AKA. But now, I believe in myself. I believe in my team back home. I’ve been back home after the last several fights and the results are proving it. I mean, I’d love to be a world champion from the UK, not to travel to America and then fight from there and be a world champion. I’d like to win fighting from the UK, to inspire the kids. You can do it where you come from. You know, I made it. That’s my aim, to win the world title from the UK.
Have you been following the back and forth between Khabib and McGregor on Twitter? Do you think they’ve gone too far?
I think it’s crossed the line now. For the last two weeks, he’s (Conor McGregor) has been talking about Khabib’s wife, and I feel he’s crossed the line. I feel it doesn’t make sense anymore now. Khabib has beaten him already. I don’t see why is it going on.