Fabian Edwards was cool, calm, and collected as he picked up the biggest win of his career at Bellator 296.
Edwards outpointed Gegard Mousasi over five rounds to send the Dutch MMA legend to back-to-back losses for the first time in his 60-fight career as the Englishman booked himself a title shot against the man who dethroned Mousasi to capture the 185-pound crown, Johnny Eblen, on September 23 in Dublin.
After his victory at the Accor Arena, Edwards shared his post-fight thoughts as he discussed his performance, and looked ahead to a title fight with “The Human Cheat Code.”
“After I suffered my losses a lot of people wrote me off, a lot of people thought I was finished, but now I’m here: one more fight until I get that gold belt,” said an elated, and vindicated, Edwards after his victory.
“Who in MMA can say they’ve got Machida and Mousasi on their record? I lost my two fights and everyone wrote me off. I kept my self-belief, got back to the gym and carried on working and now I’m back here, on a three-fight winning streak and one fight away from a world title.”
Edwards looked as composed as we’ve ever seen him as he picked Mousasi apart from range, and effectively nullified the Dutchman’s occasional attempts to turn the tables on the ground. He even threw in a few takedowns of his own for good measure.
“The gameplan was to go in there and do me,” he said.
“I feel like I could’ve thrown a few more kicks but I hurt my foot and every time I kicked I could feel it and I didn’t want to show it on my face.
“I was putting those kicks in and a few caught his knees and caught his elbows but that’s the fight game. My jaw’s hurting, my body’s hurting but that’s the fight game. I’ve got a pocket full of cash and a world title shot.
“I felt so calm in there, it’s a really weird feeling because I didn’t feel nervous, I didn’t feel anxious I just felt like I feel talking to you guys now. It’s a good feeling.”
Edwards said he enjoyed the experience of fighting in front of a passionate crowd in Paris, and said he’d relish the opportunity to return to the City of Light again in the future. But for now his sights are firmly set on his upcoming title fight with Eblen, which is set to take place at Dublin’s 3Arena on September 23. The pair faced off in the cage in an exchange that got a little testy before security stepped in to separate the pair. Edwards said he’s being underestimated, and he’s ready to surprise the American.
“Johnny knows that he’s seeing me next,” he said.
“The pushes and shoves are all nice but we get to see each other in the cage and we get to lock horns and exchange some punches.
“I see it going the way I want it to go. I think he’s underestimating my wrestling. I’ve got grit, I’ve shown I can go five rounds. The gas tank is good. I’m here and I’m ready for it.”
And, while the bout is all locked in for Dublin, Edwards still harbors hope that the bout could potentially be switched to his home town of Birmingham.
“[Dublin] sounds nice, but I wouldn’t mind bringing it to Birmingham. I know they said Dublin, but let’s see if we can twist someone’s arm and bring it back to Birmingham. Why not? Birmingham deserves it.
“We come from what people class as a little gym from Birmingham but look what we produce. It [winning the title] would mean the world. One fight away – and even after that one fight there’s a lot to gain. It’s not over until it’s over. He’s [Leon’s] trying to go down as one of the greats – he’s already a great in England – but he wants to go down as one of the greatest of all time and I want to do the same thing.”