UTC's Leon "Rocky" Edwards will be fighting alongside training partner Tom Breese this weekend at UFC Fight Night 107 in London. MMA Junkie spoke with Leon Edwards about his upcoming bout against Vicente Luque.
LONDON – Four wins in his past five fights hasn’t gained Leon Edwards the respect he believes he deserves in the UFC’s welterweight division.
Edwards (12-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) intends on changing that by adding another triumphant performance to his record at UFC Fight Night 107 on Saturday, this time at the expense of Vicente Luque (11-5-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) on the UFC Fight Pass-streamed card at The O2 in London.
“I feel like I’m flying under the radar,” Edwards told MMAjunkie. “I just beat (Albert Tumenov), the No. 13 guy in the world (in the UFC rankings). I’m not even on the main card. I feel like (the respect is) still to come, and it will when I dominant this guy on Saturday.”
Despite the fact Edwards has finished 66 percent of his career victories and has impressive wins under the UFC banner, including a third-round submission of Tumenov at UFC 204 in October, as well as an eight-second knockout of Seth Baczynski at UFC Fight Night 64 in April 2015, he still hasn’t managed to get much promotional backing.
The 25-year-old said some of that could be related to the fact most of his career has been tucked away on lower profile European cards, but he knows there is still time to change things. He said UFC Fight Night 107 is a good starting point, because Luque is bringing a lot of momentum into their fight.
Luque has won his past four UFC fights, all by stoppage, and is beginning to capture some of the more widespread attention that Edwards is seeking for his own career. If he’s able to thwart “The Silent Assassin,” the Brit said it would be a huge statement for him and proof he deserves more noteworthy fights.
“This is a test to see if Tumenov was a fluke, isn’t it?” Edwards said. “Once I get this guy out of the way, I want someone in the top 15 – and I think this is where it takes off for me. … I don’t know (why I haven’t been pushed). All I can do is go in there and win. Once I go in there and get the job done, win the fights, then it’s pretty much out of my hands from there.”
Defeating Luque won’t be an easy task, though, and Edwards knows it. “Rocky” said he’s got the better of tougher fighters over the course of his career – which has bred a lot of his confidence coming into the fight – but he also knows he must be careful.
With three first-round finishes during his current streak, the crafty Luque has shown he can take people out in a quick and concise fashion. If Edwards slips up, he could get added to that run, but on fight night he expects to turn the tables on his opponent.
“He’s a solid opponent,” Edwards said. “I know he comes and brings it. I think Tumenov is a better opponent than Vicente, but I do think he’s tough. I’m coming in there to get the win – to go for the finish.”