Fabian Edwards said he’s been given the plan for capturing the Bellator middleweight title. But he may test the market before that’s realized.
Bellator, he said, has told him he’ll get a title shot with two more wins – one of them SBG vet Charlie Ward on Saturday at Bellator 287. The rub is that he only has two fights remaining on his current deal, which potentially puts him in a good position to renegotiate after a thunderous knockout of ex-UFC champ Lyoto Machida in his previous performance.
“I’ll probably fight it out,” Edwards said of his contract Tuesday on The MMA Hour. “I like to make big decisions as a team effort, so I’ll speak to my brother and coaches and family.
“I’ve been with Bellator for a long time. They’ve always been good to meI’ve been good to me. I’ll fight it out, and we’ll talk and see what’s what – we’ll see what’s out there.”
Edwards’ knockout of Machida came after a two-fight skid that snapped a four-fight winning streak. Four months later, his brother, UFC welterweight Leon Edwards, shocked the world by knocking out Kamaru Usman to win the title at UFC 278.
“Definitely motivation,” the younger Edwards said of his brother’s “Knockout of the Year” performance. “I’ve said in 2023, we’re both going to be holding world titles. He’s obviously done his part, so it’s up to me to do my part now. Not even pressure or anything. It gives me motivation.”
Edwards expected to get a golden opportunity after stopping Machida and was surprised to receive a matchup against Ward, a veteran with a 7-1 record inside the Bellator cage.
“If I was honest, I didn’t really want the fight,” Edwards said. “I wanted someone else. I wanted Mousasi. So I wanted Mousasi or John Salter, or a rematch, and they gave me Ward. So it is what it is.
“They said fight Ward, fight someone else, and then you get the world title shot. So they gave me the path. OK, cool, I’ll just do that.”
Edwards is nothing if not patient. He went 9-0 as an amateur before turning pro, working as a carpenter and a janitor as he worked his way up the ranks. Only when he signed his first contract with Bellator did he quit his job as a janitor, reasoning his MMA career was well underway.
For many years, the younger Edwards moved between day job and fight job, exhausted from both. But, he said, “eventually, I’d get to the stage where I’d be earning enough not to do that. So I just kept grinding, and it kind of paid off.”