Everything you need to know about mixed martial artist and UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
|Born:||25th August, 1991|
|UFC Record||13-2 (3ko)|
|MMA Record||21-3 (7ko)|
|Next Fight:||Colby Covington (Saturday 16th December)|
Leon Edwards will sign off 2023 with an eagerly-awaited grudge match against Colby Covington in Las Vegas on 16th December.
Edwards' welterweight title is on the line in the headline bout of UFC 296 and the prices suggest it will be a close-fought bout.
The English fighter is with the outspoken Covington, the man they call Chaos, available at 1/1.
Edwards is undefeated in eight years, putting together an impressive 12-fight winning streak in the division, while his American opponent is the former champion who will be returning to the ring after an 18-month absence.
Both men have bags of class and top resumés, but zero respect for each other which should ensure the farewell pay-per-view bill-topper of the year is a blockbuster.
Edwards said: "I just want to fight him because I don't like him. He hasn't beaten anyone in the top five, he's only beaten people at the back end of their careers and his last five fights are win-lose-win-lose-win – it's not consistent."
Edwards had just successfully defended his BAMMA welterweight title when he made his UFC debut in November 2014 in Brazil against home favourite Claudio Silva.
And it was a learning curve for Edwards who was clearly the better, cleaner puncher, but he lost a split decision against a now-retired opponent in Silva who simply controlled the fight better.
Edwards was probably up on all three cards going into the final round but ran out of steam and allowed Silva to slip into mount as the clock ran down.
The verdict at the time was that Rocky, as Edwards is known, wasn't quite ready for primetime but with an 8-2 record was only going to improve.
Edwards won his next two fights – winning a 'Performance of the Night' bonus for his first-round KO of Seth Baczysnki – and then went into the Octagon with American Kamaru Usman in Orlando in December 2015.
The Briton, as is his style, tried to stay upright and land his punches while Usman, a former freestyle wrestler, was determined to get his man to the canvas.
And it was the American who prevailed, winning a unanimous decision. It meant Edwards was 2-2 since debuting in UFC – but he would not lose another bout.
Six months after that setback, Edwards returned to the ring in Rotterdam where he saw off Dominic Waters by a unanimous decision, the first of eight straight wins over three years which saw him move through the rankings.
He went through a near two-year break by the time he entered the cage to take on Belal Muhammad, a late replacement for Khamzat Chimaev, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 187 in Las Vegas.
Edwards accidentally poked Muhammad in the eye during the second round and the American was unable to continue and it was declared a no-contest.
A subsequent win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263 set him up for a UFC welterweight championship fight, and a shot at redemption against Kamaru Usman in Salt Lake City.
The two put on one of the great UFC scraps with Edwards trapping fast and furiously before Usman began to exert control and by the end of round four he was ahead on the judges' cards.
With Edwards seemingly beaten and the clock running down in the fifth, the Englishman produced a devastating kick to the head, knocking out his opponent, sending the crowd wild and winning the title against the odds.
In March 2023, the two met again in a trilogy fight in London and it was Edwards who retained his crown courtesy of a majority decision.
Leon Edwards has an estimated net worth of $1.5m.
Edwards versus Covington will be screened live in the UK on TNT Sports, who have exclusive rights through their partnership with UFC.
The 31-year-old fights out of Team Renegade and his head coach is Dave Lovell.