Bellator middleweight contender Fabian Edwards is on the cusp of a shot at the promotion’s middleweight title, and he said he’s ready to take that final step to earn himself a championship opportunity.
Edwards takes on former middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi in the main event of Bellator 296, which takes place Friday night at AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France. It’s a bout that presents the biggest test of the Birmingham, England native’s career. But with a big test comes a big reward – the winner looks nailed on to challenge Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen, who is in Paris to watch the bout from cageside.
Ahead of fight night, Edwards was in sharp form as he answered Fighters Only’s quickfire questions during fight week in France.
You’re back in the main event spotlight and set to face a legend of the sport in a huge bout. What are the emotions as you head towards fight week?
“My emotions are calm. I am just focused and switched on ahead of Friday.”
It feels like this is the final obstacle standing between you and a shot at the Bellator middleweight title. Is that how you see this fight?
“I just see myself being a smart fighter, picking my shots, closing the distance when I’m ready, and just controlling the fight.”
It looks like a similar position to the one you were in when you faced Austin Vanderford a couple of years ago. How much have you evolved since that fight with Austin at Bellator 259?
“I’ve evolved loads since that fight. I’m constantly in the gym, so I’ve been concentrating on getting better and fixing any holes that are in my game.”
You’re facing Gegard in Paris – he a man who’s faced so many fighters, and so many fighting styles, over his career. What do you plan to bring him that he hasn’t seen before? What about your game will he simply be unable to cope with?
“He’s been around a long time, so I don’t think there’s nothing he hasn’t seen, but I’m just going to go out there, fight my fight, and that’s it.”
I saw from another interview that you referred to Gegard’s striking as “basic” and “sloppy”. How much of an advantage do you think you have over him in the stand-up realm?
“Every advantage. I’m going to go in there and mix it up. I’m not just going in there as a striker, I’m an MMA fighter, so I can definitely mix it up.”
Johnny Eblen produced a dominant performance to defeat Gegard and win the title. What did that fight tell you about Mousasi as you prepare to face him next weekend?
“It didn’t really tell me anything, just that I’ve got to beat him, that’s it. He got beaten and it wasn’t his night, but I don’t take much from it.”
Speaking of Eblen, how highly do you rate him, and what sort of interaction did you have with him when you were sat with him at cageside earlier this year?
“He’s a good fighter, he’s the champion, so for me to turn around and say he’s not a good fighter, I’d be hating, but that’s it. He doesn’t say much, you just look at him and he nods his head. He doesn’t speak or give any cheek. When I’m around him he doesn’t really look at me, but he knows I’m coming, and he’ll see me after Friday.”
Finally, give us a prediction. How do you see this fight playing out on May 12, and how do you see yourself getting the win?
“I see me going in there smart, controlling the fight, putting big shots on him and walking away with my hand raised.”