Leon Edwards lastly returns to MMA motion on Saturday evening in Las Vegas as he continues his pursuit of UFC welterweight gold towards Belal Muhammad.
Having not fought since a dominant show towards Rafael dos Anjos in July 2019, it appeared as if ‘Rocky’ could possibly be caught on the sidelines indefinitely.
A scheduled bout for UFC London towards Tyron Woodley was scrapped on account of COVID-19, he rejected a last-minute title shot towards Kamaru Usman and his proposed bout with Khamzat Chimaev seems to be one other cursed MMA contest.
Nonetheless, after what appears like an eternity, one of the full combined martial artists to ever come from the UK is again in motion on the UFC Apex in Vegas.
The absence of just about two years will certainly be definitely worth the wait if Edwards can get previous Muhammad in spectacular trend, with a title shot towards present 170lbs king Kamaru Usman on provide.
But overcoming hardship to succeed is one thing the 29-year-old has needed to do his whole life, beginning along with his childhood in Jamaica dwelling in a shack.
Edwards lived in Kingston along with his mom, father and brother, Fabian, in a wood shack with a zinc roof in only one room; this room contained the kitchen, the lounge and the bed room.
“Everyone seems to be broke, however they’re nonetheless warring over territory,” he informed ESPN. “It’s most likely the poverty and starvation that does it to males. It’s mad.
“As a child rising up in Jamaica, all you see is crime, medicine, killing, capturing, poverty. Day in and day trip. I’ve by no means seen somebody get shot in entrance of my face, however I’ve seen individuals who had been hit with bullets operating to get away.
“Killing grew to become regular to me as a child. Listening to gunshots was regular; it didn’t faze me. While you’re taking part in outdoors in Jamaica and also you hear gunshots, you don’t run and conceal. You simply look, and if it’s nowhere close to you, you keep on together with your day. That was it. It is part of life. We didn’t know any higher.”
Edwards’ father was concerned in nefarious actions, however all the time made positive to offer for his household. Nonetheless, when Leon was simply an adolescent, his father was tragically shot useless.
“Once I was 14, my father was murdered,” he mentioned. “He was shot and killed at a nightclub in London. It was one thing to do with cash. I don’t know what precisely. It was some mad s—, however I knew that it might occur.
“However that didn’t make it any simpler. It f***** me up. It pushed me extra into gang life and crime, towards the unfavourable. My mid-teens had been my darkest years.
“My crew was concerned with fights, robberies and stabbings. We offered some medicine. We smoked weed and drank, a bit. I used to be arrested a couple of occasions, for fights and having a knife.
“It was principally preventing. I fought to defend pals, I fought to intimidate and I fought due to beefs. I fought on a regular basis. That’s why my nickname is ‘Rocky.’ I obtained that from college. That’s earlier than I obtained into MMA. I obtained it simply from scrapping within the streets.”
It will need to have felt as if the world was towards Edwards at occasions, even after shifting to the UK.
Even his UFC profession has been plagued by troublesome moments, just like the fights being cancelled prior to now 12 months or shedding his welterweight rating after an eight-fight win streak.
Each Usman and Georges St-Pierre managed to keep away from defeat within the welterweight division for 13 fights. Ought to ‘Rocky’ handle to achieve and even eclipse this achievement, then all of the sacrifice can have been value it.