A decade in the past, with the aid of Leon Edwards’ estimation, there wasn’t lots to do for teens in his a part of Birmingham bar play soccer or reason hassle. It usually becomes the latter until an intervention from his mum set him on the street to becoming an expert fighter. She dragged him to the Ultimate Training Centre, a mixed martial arts fitness center close to their home in Erdington, and ten years later, Leon and his younger brother Fabian are making careers out of the game. “Seventeen years old, each weekend I was entering into problem and police were coming to the door,” Edwards informed BBC Sport.
When I turned into moving into a problem, Fabian became getting in a hassle – anything I did, the form of copy. “I failed to realize what MMA was – it wasn’t in my thoughts. Growing up in the UK, you already know about football and boxing. I didn’t surely look at MMA. “My mum delivered me to this gymnasium to keep me out of hassle. I ended up being appropriate at it, and here I am, pinnacle ten inside the globe. It’s been an amazing adventure.” Although, don’t assume her to watch her son in movement. “She loves it. However, she cannot watch it,” said Edwards. “It’s like her worst nightmare. She enjoys that we are doing it, but she’s by no means been to one among our fights. She’s certainly pleased with it.
The welterweight hopes his developing profile in the game will continue to encourage youngsters to take part. “It’s grown so massive inside the UK during the last five years, specifically in my metropolis,” said Edwards. “For me, coming from a horrific neighborhood, I’m in a position to reveal to the kids there are other approaches you may make a living. “Now I have loads of kids from the neighborhood all within the gymnasium, coming each day and staying from morning till night time. They’re no longer putting round on the streets. “MMA gives you a positive type of determination.
It’s outstanding to do this and to be the main the percent in my town and inspiring the kids in my city.” And he would like to deliver the promoting lower back to Birmingham for the primary time considering that 2011. “It has to happen; they were anywhere around the United Kingdom,” he said. “It would be insanity – the town would love it. “This many years on, to bring it to lower back to my domestic metropolis and to headline that invoice in my domestic metropolis, that could be like after the world title for me.
MMA now in Birmingham is booming. It’s bigger than boxing now.” On Saturday, Edwards will fight Gunnar Nelson at the O2 Arena in the co-principal occasion at UFC London. But he does sense slightly aggrieved he is not headlining the cardboard along with Liverpool’s Darren Till. “I might have preferred the fight; it made the experience to me. Everyone on social media was screaming for that combat,” he said. It is likewise a gripe for the 27-year-old that folks who shout loudest appear to create a larger profile, and as a result, land fights against higher-
Ranked opponents. “Before it turned into primary fights quantity two, wide variety three fights number 4… It made the experience. At the cease of the day, it is the amusement enterprise, and we are here to entertain,” he explained. “Use Darren, for instance; he had two or three fights after which he became combating primary – a hundred% you leapfrog the division with the aid of speak rubbish. You circulate quicker within the ratings.