Leon Edwards Details How MMA Helped Him Come Out of Poverty And Crime

Published 06/06/2021, 11:18 AM EDT
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – JULY 20: Leon Edwards of Jamaica reacts after defeating Rafael Dos Anjos of Brazil by unanimous decision in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at AT&T Center on July 20, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Many of the fighters representing UFC or MMA as a whole have some backstory attached to their ascension to the top of the world. They have come out of poverty and troublesome times to create a different space for themselves. Leon Edwards happens to be one of these fighters.

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‘Rocky’ has endured a troubled past and reached a point where he is now recognized by almost everyone around the globe. The UK native spared some time out of his busy training schedule and detailed his journey from a crime scene area to the UFC.

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“I was born in Kingston, Jamaica,” he said. “Where the houses are made out of wood as the frame and zinc as the roof. Poverty is a crime. My dad was the legion leader of a gang in my area.”

He added, “My dad came to the UK. Sent money back to my mum and my brother Fabian.” His dad had left Jamaica in pursuit of finding a better life. He left his wife and sons back home initially, but always stayed in touch with them.

‘Rocky’ Edwards then talked about his younger days. “I have seen people bleeding and getting shot about 5,6,7 years old, you know,” he said.

“So when you are a kid you kind of like wanna stay away from it. My mom said, ‘oh let’s go and try this gym out.’ I didn’t know what MMA was, I didn’t know what UFC was. But it got me out of trouble (eventually).”

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How has MMA transpired for Leon Edwards?

Edwards (18-3) applied for various promotions before finally settling for UFC. Before joining UFC, he had recorded 8 wins out of 9 fights.

But his UFC career started in the worst possible way as he lost his first match for the promotion at UFC Fight Night 156 against Claudio Silva.

The loss didn’t deter him one bit as he went on to add victories to his resume. The only blip he incurred from then came against arguably the best fighter in UFC today, Kamaru Usman. Since that loss, which came in 2016, he has been undefeated in his last 9 fights.

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His next fight is against one of UFC’s very best, Nate Diaz at UFC 263. The win against Diaz would propel him to the title fight and a chance to get redemption against Kamaru Usman.

What is your opinion regarding Edwards’s rise from the lows of life?

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

219 articles

Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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