Leon Edwards called for a top 10 opponent following his victory over Bryan Barberena at UFC Fight Night 115 in Rotterdam last September.
Unfortunately for the Birmingham native, he didn’t get his wish and will face off against outstanding German grappler Peter Sobotta on March 17 at UFC Fight Night 127 in London.
Although he underlined his respect for his opponent, Edwards claimed that he expected to face a ranked opponent in the English capital given his current four-fight win streak.
“With all respect to Peter Sobotta, I feel like a deserved a ranked opponent,” he told MMAFighting.com.
“I’m on a four-fight win streak. I’ve beaten really tough guys along the way, so yeah, I thought it might be a bigger name. But make no mistake about it I’m still getting prepared for the toughest test of my career.
“I’m going to London and I’m going to put this guy away. After that they can’t deny me a ranked opponent.”
A lot of fans expected a big step up in opposition for “Rocky” before his bout with Sobotta was announced. With another win, Edwards feels it would be impossible to deny him a top-flight opponent.
“I told the UFC I wanted a top 10 opponent, but they were all either matched up already or injured. Peter Sobotta was the only fighter that was willing to accept the fight, so I said ‘let’s do it’. After London it will be a five-fight win streak. I think you’ve got to give me a big name at that stage,” he said.
Fellow Brit Darren Till captured the attention of the international MMA audience with his win over Donald Cerrone in Gdansk last year. Edwards too had reached out to the UFC in an effort to get a date with “Cowboy” and believes that if he gets a chance to make an impression against a well-known opponent he would pass with flying colors.
“I called for that Cerrone fight and they gave it to Till. I really think that I would’ve done the same thing to Cerrone. It is what it is,” he explained.
“For me, I think I can gain that recognition if I got a win like that over another big name. I think I’m capable of it. When fans see me to take a big win over a high ranked opponent that’s the type of thing that leads to worldwide exposure.
“All it takes is for one guy to step up and take the fight.”
Edwards only made two appearances in the Octagon last year. He hopes to bank his first stoppage victory since his submission win over Albert Tumenov to start off a more active 2018.
“I think I’ll knock him out. I expect him to come out in the first round and try to shoot, but I think I’ll be able to dictate where the fight takes place. I think I’m going to finish him in the first or second round.”