UFC Fight Night 135 in Singapore features an interesting welterweight matchup as a veteran in Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone takes on an upcoming Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards.
Cerrone’s wild style both inside and outside the octagon has made him a fan favourite. However that’s not the case for the Birmingham native.
“He’s a legend of the sport, but I wouldn’t say I was a fan of his,” Edwards told MMA Fighting.
“Just [because] his approach to fighting, I think it’s more like a journeyman. I don’t think he cares whether he wins or loses. He just shows up and as long as he fights, that’s good for him. To me, I think his approach is more like a journeyman approach. You’re just there to fight, you’re not there to win or lose. I don’t think it bothers him, whether he wins or loses anyway — that’s his approach. But my approach is I want to win every fight and I want to be a world champion. That’s my aim in the sport.”
Edwards feels Cerrone’s best days are war behind him.
“I think so,” Edwards said. “He’s a 36-year-old man now and he took a lot of damage in his last, what, six or seven outings. He took a lot of damage.
“We’ve watched his last four or five fights, and honestly there’s a blueprint there, and I can [execute] it. As far as why he’s really struggling, I don’t know. Welterweight is probably just too big for him, or his chin is deteriorating. It could be anything. Like I said, he’s a 36-year-old man. His style of fighting, the way he’s fought, it’s been the same realistically for, what, his last 10 or 15 fights? I don’t think there’s much different in his game, really, that’s changed over the last 10 or 15 fights, from what I’ve seen anyway. So people are probably just getting used to what he does and what he throws, and everything else. There’s no [mystery] there.”
Edwards believes Cowboy’s recent slump was due to the approach he followed throughout his career.
“I think back in the day, the guys would fight [indiscriminately]. There was no real thought to their future or the future of the sport or their health,” Edwards said. “I think now it’s showing in older guys. You can see them slowing down quite early and they’re getting chinny, so I think it all adds up over time. You’ve got to approach this thing smart and [work towards] longevity in your career. In the past it’s been, like I said, just show up just to fight and you don’t care whether you win or lose, whether you get knocked out or anything.
“So, 100 percent, I feel the older guys, the way they approach the game is so different from the way we approach the game, the way younger guys are approaching the game right now. I think everyone thinks more of longevity and more about looking out for themselves, more about just being smart in fights, and not necessarily fighting just to fight, just to say I’m on the card fighting whoever, whenever. You know what I mean? Like I said, where I’m from, that’s a journeyman mindset. You get paid just to show up and just to say, ‘Yeah, I did show up.’ My mindset is more, I want to win everything.”
Edwards feels he’s ready to pull off an upset against Cerrone.
“I think I’m the better fighter,” Edwards said bluntly of Cerrone. “My striking, I feel my striking is there. I’m well-rounded, so I feel like wherever the fight goes, I’ll be the better man on the night, so it’s just me going out there and proving it now.
“I feel I need a finish in this fight to prove my case,” Edwards added. “To get to where I really want to get to, I feel a decision won’t be enough for me. So I’m going out there for the finish and having my way.”