Leon Edwards isn’t going to be caught off guard ahead of welterweight world title defence against Colby Covington this weekend.
Edwards will take on the second defence of the 170-pound crown against a fighter who has been out of the sport for the best part of two years in Covington, a fighter who has — at least in part — sought to maintain his spot at the summit of the 170-pound ladder with his rather unique brand of trash-talk and fight promotion.
Edwards, unbeaten in almost nine years, says that whatever comes out of the American’s mouth between now and fight night will not phase him, and added that Covington’s antics only serve to undermine him.
“I just ignore it,” Edwards told MMA Fighting of Covington’s schtick. “It’s a different kind of banter where I’m from and where I grew up. It just reminds me of a typical American jock. He’s like Stifler from ‘American Pie,’ that kind of person. He just talks sht*. It’s whatever.
“Even outside of fighting, me and him would never be friends. We’re just two different human beings and two different men. Our morals are different as men. That’s it. I’ll go out there and it makes it easier for me to train, it makes it easier for me to go out and punch a hole in his face, and that’s it.”
Covington’s grappling-heavy, relentless approach has paid dividends in the cage in recent times but Edwards says that this has been a carefully sculpted persona designed to generate controversy.
“He comes out and plays a character,” Edwards said. “‘I’m going to play a character because I’m about to get cut from the UFC.’ It’s easier for someone like that to tolerate, just laugh at him. You’re just a f*cking weirdo. That’s it. You can say word for word what he’s going to say. You can know how he’s going to dress. He’s just a character that’s funny and a clown. We just enjoy it for what it is.”
And when that cage door shuts in Las Vegas late on Saturday night, Edwards says his rival will find out quickly that this is a different type of fight to what he has been used to lately.
“He’s used to beating guys like Robbie Lawler, he’s used to beating guys like Jorge Masvidal, guys that are over the hill a little bit,” Edwards says. “They’re 37, 38, been in wars, their bodies are beaten up. He’s used to beating them kind of guys. Now going out there and beating those young, fit, hungry guys? I just can’t see him doing it.”