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“I Look Up to Him as an Inspiration, as an Idol”- UFC Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards Names His Dream Opponent Ahead of Upcoming Title Defense

Published 03/14/2023, 12:56 AM EDT

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Leon Edwards won the world over when he did the unthinkable and knocked out Kamaru Usman to win the UFC welterweight title. “Rocky” put on a performance worthy of his moniker, digging deep and winning the fight at the very last minute. But, the story is far from over.

The Jamaican-born fighter will defend his title against Kamaru Usman at the UFC 286 in London. The pair are tied 1-1 from their two previous meetings. This makes the title fight in London a rubber match for all the marbles. However, despite their heated rivalry and history, Usman is not the dream fight for Edwards, as he revealed in a recent interview.

Leon Edwards names his dream fight


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Leon Edwards sat down with ‘British GQ’ for a chat ahead of his UFC 286 title fight. The popular magazine had the 31-year-old answer a series of questions from various social media platforms in their ‘Actually Me’ segment. During the Q&A, the champion entertained questions from fans on Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and Quora, among other platforms.

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One of the questions posed to Edwards on Quora was, “Who would be Leon Edwards’ dream opponent, dead or alive?” 


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The Birmingham-based athlete had an interesting reply for the same. “Probably, I want to say, Bruce Lee. Any legends. I’d probably say, Muhammad Ali, just for how much I look up to him, as an inspiration, as an idol.”


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Lee and Ali are historic figures of the combat sports world for their personas, ideals, and work ethic. Therefore, it is no surprise that an underdog like Edwards idolizes them. However, he did not extend the same respect to his next opponent.

Edwards with a jab at Usman

In a recent snap of Edwards from his gym, fans spotted something that might be a subtle insult to Kamaru Usman. An image from Edwards’ gym that recently surfaced on social media has fans wondering if the champion is talking some smack ahead of the rubber match.


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In the image, we see Edwards posing in the gym with his teammates, but what caught the eyes of the fans was the image behind them. There was a snap of Edwards’ head kick of Usman with the message: “Protect yourself at all times.”

It could be the gym is using a moment from Edwards’ historic win to impart an important lesson to the students. Or is it an attempt at mind games from the champion’s camp?


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Either way, the welterweight title showdown at UFC 286 is bound to be a fireworks fight. What are your predictions? Let us know in the comments.



Yeswanth Praveen

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Yeswanth Praveen is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. His interests mainly lie in the realm of MMA, bodybuilding, and the fitness industry. He finished his Master's in English literature from EFLU, Hyderabad.

Edited By: Rohini Kottu