West Midlands Police were long-established company to the Edwards household.
A decade ago, by Leon Edwards’ estimation, there wasn’t great to take care of out for children in his phase of Birmingham bar play soccer or motive difficulty.
For him it modified into as soon as continuously the latter, except an intervention from his mum location him on the facet street to changing proper into a talented fighter.
She dragged him to the Closing Practising Centre, a blended martial arts gymnasium end to their dwelling in Erdington, and 10 years later both Leon and his younger brother Fabian are making careers out of the sport.
“Seventeen years aged, every weekend I modified into as soon as stepping into difficulty and police were coming to the door,” Edwards told BBC Sport. “When I modified into as soon as stepping into difficulty, Fabian modified into as soon as stepping into difficulty – whatever I did, he more or much less copied.
“I did no longer know what MMA modified into as soon as – it wasn’t in my thoughts. Rising up in the UK you know about soccer and boxing. I did no longer truly peep into MMA.
“My mum brought me to this gymnasium correct to take care of me out of difficulty. I carried out up being moral at it and right here I am, top 10 on this planet. It be been an improbable traipse.”
Though, don’t depend upon her to appear at her son in action.
“She loves it, but she will be able to’t be taught about it,” acknowledged Edwards. “It be fancy her worst nightmare. She enjoys that we’re doing it but she’s never been to at least one of our fights. She’s no doubt proud of it.”
The welterweight hopes his growing profile in the sport will continue to abet children to protect phase.
“It be grown so astronomical in the UK over the final 5 years, particularly in my metropolis,” acknowledged Edwards. “For me, coming from a snide neighbourhood, I will allege the teens there are other ways you might perchance presumably well presumably create a residing.
“Now I’ve hundreds of teens from the neighbourhood all in the gymnasium, coming day by day and staying from morning except night. They’re now no longer hanging spherical on the streets.
“MMA gives you a certain more or much less dedication. It be unbelievable so that you can take care of out that and to be leading the pack in my metropolis and provoking the teens in my metropolis.”
And he would utilize to in the future bring the promotion aid to Birmingham for the predominant time since 2011.
“It has to happen, they’ve been in every single save spherical the UK,” he acknowledged. “It might perchance perchance presumably well presumably be insanity – the metropolis would to find it irresistible.
“This a protracted time on, to bring it aid to my dwelling metropolis and to headline that invoice in my dwelling metropolis, that is more probably to be fancy subsequent to the world title for me.
“MMA now in Birmingham is booming. It be bigger than boxing now.”
On Saturday, Edwards will fight Gunnar Nelson at the O2 Area in the co-predominant tournament at UFC London.
However he does truly feel rather of aggrieved he’s now no longer headlining the cardboard alongside Liverpool’s Darren Till.
“I’d have cherished the fight, it made sense to me. Everyone on social media modified into as soon as screaming for that fight,” he acknowledged.
Additionally it is a gripe for the 27-one year-aged that folks that bawl loudest appear to gain a bigger profile, and as a end result land fights in opposition to elevated-ranked opponents.
“Sooner than it modified into as soon as no 1 fights number two, number three fights number four… it made sense. At the discontinue of the day it is miles the entertainment business and we’re right here to entertain,” he explained.
“Use Darren let’s dispute, he had two or three fights after which he modified into as soon as fighting no 1 – 100% you leapfrog the division by talking rubbish. You cross faster in the rankings.”