UFC Champion Leon Edwards – it doesn’t get better than that.
English mma fighter, 31, won the welterweight title with a stunning win over the former titleholder Kamaru Usman in August.
Edwards’ 20-3 record in MMA includes ten straight wins under the UFC banner. He holds notable wins over Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz and Raphael dos Anjos.
But he’s not just content with having the belt wrapped around his waist.
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No British MMA fighter – not even the legendary Michael Bisping himself – has already been nominated for the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
However, Edwards wants to be the first to break this curse, as he feels he deserves to earn it based on his recent success.
“Yeah, 100%,” he exclusively told GiveMeSport.com. “Who else has done what I did for the UK this year?
“It’s like a one in a million chance for a guy like me from Birmingham to make it in one of the fastest growing sports in the world, inspiring other generations like the youngsters in our gyms.
“So yeah, I think I should 100% win or at least be nominated anyway. [laughs].”
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It’s an exciting time for fans of the sport in his home country, with the likes of Arnold Allen, Darren up and Tom Aspinal also currently ranked in the top 15 in the featherweight, middleweight and heavyweight divisions respectively.
And Edwards gave his verdict on who will be next to follow in his footsteps.
“I would say probably Tom, but he hurt his knee, didn’t he,” he added. “I think he’s good. He is very good. He moves well, he’s a good striker, he’s a good grappler.
“So I think once he’s healthy, I think Tom will be next. Darren is good too but Darren always likes to find his way, you know? Arnold Allen, he’s my teammate, he’s defeats soon in the main event against Kattar, he is on a nine-fight winning streak.
“Actually, I’ll go to Arnold first, then Tom actually, so yeah. I think of Arnold because I see him in the gym. I know how good he is.
“Obviously his path to the title took a long time, similar to my path. It’s because he’s calm, you know, so it took him a bit longer. Normally he would have already gotten a title shot.
“So yeah, I’ll go to Arnold first, then Tom.”
Edwards also had some kind words to say about his former opponent, Diaz, who reportedly entered free agency after his epic submission win. Tony Ferguson in September.
“He and his brother’s legacy in MMA are cemented,” he continued.
“I grew up watching them. I used to watch them all the time, even on the countdown shows and stuff. I liked how they approached everything.
“They are what they are, you know, and they don’t change for anyone.
“But when I fought him, I had to turn all that off. I had to see him as just another opponent. But now, looking back on it, he had a very good career.
“I know he didn’t get a title or stuff like that, but when it comes to fan favorite fighters and fighters fighters, it’s them, it’s the Diaz brothers.
“So what a legacy to have and fair play for him and I wish him well on his journey, whatever he chooses to do next.”
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