Leon Edwards has retanied his welterweight belt after a historic trilogy match against Kamaru Usman in London.
He has inspird a generation of Brummies to achieve their dreams and keep working hard to get what you want.
The emotional victory was felt across the stadium as cheers echoed into the city streets.
The champ said in a tweet after his win:
“Big respect to Usman!
What a trilogy! Over 8 years we fought 13 rounds, over an hour together in the octagon and our rivalry will go down in history. Just pure competition at the highest level. I wish you and your family well.”
Edwards’ win over Usman in August ended his dominance of the division, the then pound-for-pound number one having been on a 14-fight UFC winning streak that yielded a title win in 2019 followed by five successful defences.
The first sighting of Edwards on the night brought a huge cheer as the big screen showed the champion arriving at the arena to the theme of Eye of the Tiger – a song synonymous with the Rocky boxing movie franchise, which inspired Edwards’ nickname.
Tension grew throughout the evening as the sold-out arena was excitd for the historic event, including snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan and actors Jared Leto, Guz Khan and Tom Holland.
Former champion Usman made his cage-walk first and was booed loudly from the pro-Edwards crowd as he stepped inside the octagon.
Judges scored the trilogy fight at the O2 Arena in London 48-46, 48-46, 47-47 in favour of the Briton, who landed the cleaner blows as their third fight went the distance.
Usman said after his defeat “I’ve always given him props for everything he’s been able to accomplish. He’s just like me. It’s in his blood. Much respect, London. You’ve got yourself a great champion and a hell of a guy.”
Leon has revealed he wants to defend his UFC welterweight title in his hometown of Birmingham.
Edwards was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and lived with his parents and his brother in a one-room house.
Growing up, he was surrounded by crime. Edwards moved to the Aston area of Birmingham, England at age nine, and his father was shot and killed in a nightclub in London when Edwards was thirteen.
He was then involved in criminal activity such as drug dealing, street fighting, and knife possession along with his social circle, but was able to get out of his lifestyle at age 17, when his mother got him to join an MMA club.
MMA in some ways saved his life and set him on the path to greatness where his will to succeed led him to become a champion.
Birmingham salutes Leon Edwards.