UFC 263: Leon Edwards embraces the role of the ‘bad guy’

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Leon Edwards didn’t thoughts the boos as his hand was raised within the victory towards Nate Diaz at UFC 263

Leon Edwards remains to be unbeaten since a loss to present UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman in 2015. And whereas he hasn’t tasted defeat within the Octagon in over 5 years and has continued to work his manner up the ranks, he hasn’t appeared to earn as many factors within the followers’ minds.

And he doesn’t appear to have an issue with that.

Edwards’ function as a “heel” stretches again, at a minimal, to 2019, when he bested Gunnar Nelson in a break up choice in London. Following that occasion, he received into an infamously broadcasted altercation with Jorge Masvidal, who delivered a “three-piece with the soda” to Edwards.

He’d go on to name out Masvidal and Usman unsuccessfully over the remainder of 2019 and 2020 however received the large combat really feel he’s wished at UFC 263, which, regardless of a last-minute scare from Diaz, noticed Edwards rating a one-sided choice over Nate Diaz within the first-ever five-round bout that was neither a most important occasion or title combat.

After defeating Nate Diaz at UFC 263, Leon Edwards talks about having to play the heel function

On the post-fight press convention following his win, Edwards talked about that being jeered in arenas all over the world — and he actually was towards the fan-favorite Diaz — provides him no points.

“I embrace it. It doesn’t hassle me,” Edwards mentioned. “I grew up round hostility. I grew up round unhealthy environments. If I’ve a crowd booing me, so long as I’m going out and getting paid cash, it’s like, it’s what it’s. I’m going on the market and do my job; it doesn’t hassle me. I’ve been booed within the UK…I used to be like ‘What the f***?’ So it’s what it’s. I embrace it. I’m on my journey and I’ll maintain doing my factor.”

The win over Diaz makes Edwards 9-0, 1 NC in his final 10 fights, with wins additionally coming towards Vicente Luque, Bryan Barberena, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos.

It additionally represents the tip of a irritating, inactive interval for Edward since his July 2019 win over dos Anjos. He was scheduled to combat Tyron Woodley in March 2020 earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic scrapped any plans for MMA.

He was then booked thrice towards Khamzat Chimaev, just for COVID-19 to scrap every of the fights. He as an alternative fought Belal Muhammad in March, a combat that went to a no-contest as a consequence of an unintended eye poke.

“It’s been a protracted year-and-a-half to 2 years. I’ve had numerous ups and downs. I’ve been in camp since final March, once I was meant to combat Woodley. I’ve been in back-to-back coaching camps. A number of ups-and-downs, misplaced mates, misplaced individuals and it’s been a annoying street.”

Together with his win streak, and his final loss coming towards the present champ, it’s a good argument that Edwards ought to be in line for a title shot. UFC President Dana White, nevertheless, said in his tackle to the media that Colby Covington remains to be subsequent in line.

Usman himself additionally supplied a response on Twitter, stating that he wasn’t impressed with Edwards’s efficiency sufficient to defend the title towards him.

“Guys are all the time making excuses,” Edwards mentioned in response. “They know I’m the true deal. They know I’m the person for the title shot. They’re all b****ing and making excuses and say ‘He doesn’t deserve it.’ Then who f***ing does?

“Colby don’t deserve it. Woodley received injured and now he deserves a title shot? I didn’t b*** and moan. I took my loss. on the chin. I labored my manner again as much as a nine-fight win streak. Who else f***ing deserves it?”

UFC 263 takes place on Saturday, June 12, 2021, reside from the Gila River Enviornment in Glendale, AZ. Observe together with FanSided who’s on-site all week for all of your reside information and highlights.

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