UFC Jamaican champ wants next title bout to be on his terms
Jamaica-born and newly crowned Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion Leon 'Rocky' Edwards is eagerly anticipating his return title fight with Kamara Usman but wants to dictate the terms of the fight.
According to Edwards, his victory against Usman was in the latter's home country of the United States of America (USA) because he (Usman) was the champion, but because he secured the title in their mid-August bout, he now wants the American to journey to England, where he (Edwards) resides.
"The fight now though will be in England. It won't be in America. He was the champ at the time, but now I'm the champ. I'm looking at next year in February or March. This will be the fight to settle it all," said Edwards.
That bout will be the third time that Edwards and Usman will be fighting, with each having a victory over the other, in their two previous encounters and according to Edwards, he is still on a high after achieving his dream of becoming a UFC champion. Edwards won the title with a fifth-round knockout of Usman.
"It is an unbelievable feeling. I'm still taking it in day by day and enjoying it as it comes. I was like, 'yes, I've finally done it'. It was a long road to get to that point because I was on a long win streak and then COVID hit and that carried a lot of ups and downs in my career.
"To finally get the fight against Usman and go out there and knock him out, someone who hadn't lost in about 10 years was just madness and I still can't put it into words," said Edwards.
The Kingston-born Edwards improved his record to 20 wins from 24 fights following the victory.
The rematch is part of the contract before the August fight and Edwards said he will be taking time to rest before he starts getting ready for the third fight with Usman.
"He defeated me the first time via split decision, on the second occasion I defeated him by knock-out, so this definitely will be the fight to settle the score. My training camp is normally about three months, so I'm taking a little time off now, working on a few business ventures that I have going on.
"Obviously I'll still be training, but I don't hit training camp until three months out from the fight. So from once the fight gets signed and I know exactly the date, then I will start plan around it and work it from there," Edwards added.
The Kingston native shared that he will be on the island later this year to help push the sport in Jamaica.
"I'll be in Jamaica, either October or November. I'm trying to work out some charity there, trying to bring mixed martial arts to Jamaica. I think it will be good for Jamaica. I'm in talks now with government officials to see what we can get done. Martial arts has changed my life, so I would love to bring it to where I was born," Edwards concluded.