Leon Edwards determined to put nightmare 2020 behind him by earning long-awaited UFC title shot in comeback fight
LEON EDWARDS plans to put a miserable 2020 behind him by finally bagging a shot at the welterweight title.
The Jamaican-born Brit's dream of fighting for the 170lb belt was scuppered last year by the pandemic, which laid waste to showcase fights with Tyron Woodley and Russian phenom Khamzat Chimaev.
But a win over Belal Muhammad tomorrow morning in the main event of UFC Fight Night 187 in Las Vegas will catapult the Brummie back to the top of the contenders' heap
And the slick southpaw is determined to move on from the most frustrating chapter of his career with an impressive performance at the UFC's Apex facility in Sin City.
Edwards, 29, told SunSport: "2020 was meant to be written off.
"I started the year by losing my fight with Woodley from Covid and I ended the year by losing my fight with Chimaev by Covid.
"Maybe, like you said, it was God's plan. Maybe it wasn't the year for me to compete.
"I truly believe this year is where I'm going to make my mark on this sport. And I cannot wait."
UFC kingpin Dana White has confirmed Edwards will become only the fourth Brit to fight for a title in MMA's leading promotion if he's victorious against Muhammad.
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And the Team Renegade standout, who has won his last eight in a row, plans punch his ticket to a title shot by blowing away the Palestinian-American.
He said: "I want to showcase my skill set and show these guys aren't on my level.
"This is what's important to me going into this fight
"Belal is not on my level. He's a good fighter, he's a good contender, but he's nowhere on my level.
"And I'm going out there to prove that come March 13."
Edwards, with an 18-3 record, believes the big names in the welterweight division will be forced to give him his dues when he makes it nine wins on the spin.
He said: "I've got an amazing body of work behind me and this will be my ninth win in a row when I go out there and beat Belal Muhammad.
"That's the third-most in the whole division's history.
"They can make all the excuses they want, but the day is coming. They cannot stop what is meant for me."
Edwards has not fought since his unanimous decision victory over former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in July 2019.
But the No.3-ranked welterweight in the world insists ring rust won't be a factor in his make-or-break comeback fight.
He added: "Over the year, all I've been doing is training, honing my skills and my mindset and technique.
"And I cannot wait to go out there and compete right now. I have that hunger to go out there and compete and fight hard."
Edwards hopes to end the year by following in the footsteps of Britain's first and only UFC champion, former middleweight king Michael Bisping.
He added: "2021 is the year I become world champion.
"I become the second world champion in UK history for MMA and the UFC.
"Bisping did it first and I'll be the second world champion. 2021, this is what in envision.
"This what I've trained for, I've worked hard for.
"When I'm training, this is what is on my brain and what's motivating me while I'm training. I'll become a world champion in 2021."
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