Leon Edwards has been patiently waiting for his chance to climb up the welterweight rankings but even after six wins in a row, he’s not getting the respect he believes he deserves.
In his last fight, Edwards defeated Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in his first UFC main event and his hope was that kind of high profile victory would then move him into a marquee position to face a top five ranked opponent.
His first choice was fellow British fighter Darren Till but instead of landing that fight to headling the upcoming UFC Fight Night card in London, he ended up in the co-main event against Gunnar Nelson.
Edwards is quick to point out that Nelson is probably the more dangerous threat in a fight but that doesn’t lessen the sting from missing out on headlining a card in his native England against the other top welterweight from the country.
Now just days away from the event, Edwards has also heard new UFC signee Ben Askren chirping about his plans to callout the winner of the main event fight between Till and Jorge Masvidal.
Askren just picked up his first win in the Octagon with a submission victory against Robbie Lawler at UFC 235 and he immediately shifted his attention towards Till and Masvidal this weekend. In fact, Askren will be in attendance this weekend as a guest fighter for the UFC as they arrive in England.
“I don’t understand why they’re bringing Ben [Askren] over if I’m being honest with you,” Edwards told MMAWeekly. “After his win the other day was not the best win anyway. So I don’t understand why they’re bringing him over. This is my show.
“That’s my plan. Go out there and beat Gunnar Nelson and then get the winner of the main event.”
For all the wins that he’s amassed over the past few years, Edwards still doesn’t receive that much attention in terms of fighters calling him out or higher ranked opponents accepting his challenges.
Edwards believes the problem lies with the fact that he’s never been the most vocal athlete on the UFC roster and now that’s the only kind of fighter he sees being promoted.
Once again, Edwards points the finger at somebody like Askren, who he feels is massively overrated from the point of view of his skill set but because he can talk trash, people are paying attention to him.
“Like Ben Askren, his performance was s—t the other day,” Edwards said. “He came out and looked like an amateur in there but because he talks s—t, now they’re pushing him and now he’s No. 6 [in the rankings], which is madness to me.”
As frustrating as it might be, Edwards can’t allow himself to get distracted ahead of his fight against Nelson because for all the work he’s done to climb into the top 15, it all goes away if he falls short on Saturday in London.
“It is what it is. I focus on myself,” Edwards said. “I’ve got a big fight coming up Saturday and I’m looking forward to performing.”