Leon Edwards speaks on Covington title shot, Masvidal's McGregor call out and targets return at Madison Square Garden (Exclusive)
Sportskeeda analyst Kieran Herring recently caught up with UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards to discuss his incredible performance against Rafael Dos Anjos back in July as well as his thoughts on the current layout of the UFC welterweight division.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview
You put in an incredible performance a few weeks ago against Rafael Dos Anjos. He’s an incredibly accomplished fighter in the UFC but you had an answer for everything he threw your way – What sort of preparations went into bringing a performance like that to the table?
It’s all about understanding the game and watching Dos Anjos for so long. I kind of know what he does and what he’s good at, so I already knew how to beat him. He’s a former world champion, he’s a legend of the game but I know that I’m number one. This just goes to prove that once again.
You’re currently on an 8-fight win streak in the UFC – Can you pinpoint a moment where you went from being a fighter with obvious potential to a fighter who is realizing their potential and is now ready for a title shot?
I think when I beat Donald Cerrone probably. He’s obviously a big name in the sport and it was my first main event. So to go out there and do what I did to Donald Cerrone – I think it proved to myself and my team that we belong with the best in the world. Then to go out and beat Gunnar Nelson in the way I did, and now a former world champion in RDA.
I think each fight plays a part in just knowing that I’m doing everything right and believing in my team and that we’re heading in the right direction. So I don’t think it’s just one fight, all the fights just add up and they’ve put me on this path I’m on now.
I mentioned your 8-fight win streak in my last question – Do you have any thoughts on the UFC handing Colby Covington the next title shot over yourself?
I can understand it. He was the interim champion for about a year, so I think it probably makes sense giving him the shot and then let me and Masvidal fight to see who fights for the title next.
If not, I think I deserve it as much as anyone; I’m on an 8-fight win streak, second-most after the champion, I’ve beaten two good guys back-to-back. So I’m up there to get a title shot, it’s me and Colby. He deserves it, but I feel I deserve it over everyone.
If not, I’ll beat Masvidal and then fight for the title. If they give me Usman first, that’s perfect for me as well.
So you’re set on Masvidal as the next fight?
The only reason I want to fight him is because of what happened in London apart from that he brings no value to me at all. He’s at 2-2 over his last four fights; he brings nothing to me apart from the fact I want to smash his head in. That’s it.
For me, I want to be the world champion. That’s what I came to this sport to do and I’m chasing that world title.
You’ve made no secret that you want to get Jorge Masvidal into the cage – Have you got any thoughts on him pursuing a fight with Conor McGregor instead of you?
It’s hilarious. He’s chasing Conor McGregor who’s a lightweight or a featherweight, he’s making an excuse, he’s running and hiding. It’s hilarious to me, to see this man put on a show, thinking he’s this gangster but now he’s trying to duck the fight.
We’ll see, I think they’ll force it on him. It’s the only fight that makes sense in this division and it’s the biggest fight in this division, so we’ll settle this.
You said before that you are the worst possible matchup for Jorge Masvidal – What is it specifically about your game that you see him struggling with most?
All of it. I’m a long, rangy southpaw, I’m good everywhere the fight goes and I’ve got a great gas tank. I feel I’ve got him wherever the fight goes.
He’s got nothing for me; he’s an average top ten fighter maybe. I don’t think he’ll be a world champion. I feel I’m better everywhere the fight goes, I’m younger, I’m faster, I’m stronger and I’m stronger mentally.
If there was to be a late drop out between Covington and Usman would you be willing to step in at late notice or would you prefer to be given the chance to have a full camp?
I would step in 100%. I took the RDA fight on four weeks notice. My aim in this sport is to be a world champion. If they give me a call and say ‘Covington is out’ I will step in.
When do you want and expect your next fight to be booked by the UFC?
Hopefully, in the next few weeks, I should hear something back. They were waiting to see what happened in the Covington fight before booking match ups.
I’m hoping to fight in November, Madison Square Garden sounds good...