‘Rocky’ Edwards finally gets UFC gold with Hollywood KO
Down on the judges’ scorecards with a minute left in his UFC title fight against Kamaru Usman, Leon “Rocky” Edwards needed a miracle, but no one expected an ending that even Hollywood filmmakers would have dismissed as too implausible.
Edwards started well in the long-awaited title fight at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, but Usman dominated the middle three rounds to put himself on course for a decision victory.
Out of nowhere, Edwards feinted a jab before slamming a kick into the side of Usman’s head, flooring one of the most dominant champions the UFC has ever had and surprising everyone in the Vivint Arena.
Everyone, that is, apart form Edwards himself, who told Reuters in the run-up to the fight that he had seen how it could all play out.
“I’ve pictured him being up on the scorecards and me coming back and winning – I’ve pictured it many different ways,” Edwards said prior to the fight, but the win he envisioned could hardly have been this perfect.
“Everyone’s seen my path, everyone knows my path and how it went, and I always believed that was the way it was meant to go,” an emotional Edwards told reporters following one of the most stunning comebacks in the history of cage-fighting.
"That's how it was meant to go. I was meant to have a harder path."
— UFC News (@UFCNews) August 21, 2022
Having received his “Rocky” nickname from the boxing movie of the same name, Edwards celebrated by dancing around the octagon to the film’s iconic theme tune, his dream of becoming a UFC champion finally fulfilled.
The 30-year-old, who became only the second British fighter to win a UFC title, now wants to defend his belt on English soil.
“Wembley (Stadium), for sure. Make it Wembley, that has to be done. This has never been done before,” Edwards beamed before praising his training base in Birmingham.
“I made a point to stay in the UK to achieve this, to show the other guys coming on to me. Look, we can — if you believe in your country, believe in your team, you can achieve it. And that’s what I did,” he added.