Who is Leon Edwards?

Leon Edwards is the reigning UFC welterweight champion. The Jamaican-born English fighter has been competing professionally since 2011. Edwards first competed for the Fight UK MMA promotion before heading over to the British Association of MMA (BAMMA) where he became its welterweight champion. Leon joined the UFC in 2014 and has become one of its biggest international stars. As of April 2, 2024, Edwards is the No.3 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion.

  • Name: Leon Edwards
  • Age: 32
  • Date of Birth: August 25, 1991
  • Nationality: English 
  • Height: 187 cm (6 ft 2 in)
  • Weight: 77 kg (170 lbs)
  • Reach: 74 in
  • Net Worth: $3 million USD
  • Instagram: @leonedwardsmma (1.4 million followers)

Leon Edwards Vs. Colby Covington

Leon Edwards fought Colby Covington in the main event of UFC 296 on December 26, 2023, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout marked Edwards’ second defense of the UFC welterweight championship which he won from Kamaru Usman at UFC 278. ‘Rocky’ then successfully defended the belt in a rematch with The Nigerian Nightmare at UC 286 seven months after their first bout.

There was controversy before the bout was booked because Covington was just ranked No. 3 when it was announced. Chaos had not fought in a year with his last Octagon appearance coming in March 2022 against Jorge Masvidal. Colby was also just 2-2 in his last four bouts heading to UFC 296.

In what turned out to be a one-sided affair, Edwards defeated Covington via unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the bout 49-46. Fightmetric stats showed that Rocky outlanded Chaos 57-44 in total significant strikes landed. Edwards also completed two out of three takedown attempts.

After the fight, Edwards told Joe Rogan that it was an emotional fight for him because Covington brought up his late father during the pre-fight press conference.

“This fight was very emotional for me. This guy used my dad’s death as entertainment. He used my dad’s murder as entertainment. It took a lot for me to calm down, stay focused,” Edwards said to Joe Rogan after the fight. “After the press conference, I went backstage. I was crying, just due to the rage. You can’t use my dad’s death as entertainment. That’s what he did. … He said my dad should burn in hell. He’s a good competitor. But he’s a dirty human being.”

Leon Edwards Vs. Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman stands as the only fighter that Leon Edwards has fought three times. Edwards first fought Usman on December 19, 2015, and lost via unanimous decision. After that loss, Edwards racked up 8 consecutive wins, culminating in a unanimous decision victory over former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos in July 2019.

Edwards was offered a title shot against Usman at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi. However, the proposal arrived with just 4 ½ weeks before the event and Edwards turned it down because he didn’t have enough time to prepare. Usman ended up fighting Jorge Masvidal and Edwards would not get his crack at the belt again until 2022.

After a very long wait, Leon Edwards finally got his title shot at UFC 278 on August 20, 2022, at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, the fight was anything but easy. Usman dominated Edwards from rounds one through four and carried a 39-37 lead across all three judges’ scorecards heading to the final round. 

With his fighter losing the fight, Edwards’ trainer Dave Lovell gave him an epic speech in between rounds that turned disaster into victory.

 “Listen! Stop feeling sorry for yourself…Well, come on then! What’s wrong with you? You’re two fu**** down. You got to pull it out of the fire! Come on, Leon, man. You got it, man, come on!”     

was already ‘broken’ but shortly before it happened, his corner could be overheard shouting 

“Head kick Leon” and then it happened. Edwards faked a straight left that had Usman leaning to his right side. Leon then unleashed a left head kick that knocked the lights off Usman.

Edwards became the first Jamaican-born fighter and the second English fighter to win a UFC title. But because Usman held the belt for a long time, he merited an immediate runback. 

And so a third fight between the two was booked for UFC 286 on March 18, 2023, at Edwards’ backyard at the O2 Arena in England. Although it wasn’t as decisive as his previous win, Rocky defeated Usman via majority decision with scores of 48-46, 48-46, and 47-47 and won their trilogy 2-1.

Leon Edwards Record

As of April 2, 2024, Leon Edwards owns a professional mixed martial arts record of 22-3 with 7 knockouts and three submission victories with one no-contest. This includes an impressive 14-2 record inside the UFC Octagon.

Edwards has not lost a bout since his first bout with Kamaru Usman in 2015. Two fights before that, Rocky also dropped a split decision to Claudio Silva at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs Saint Preux in 2014. His only other loss happened in his third professional fight when he was disqualified fat Fight UK MMA 6 way back in February 2012. 

Rocky also has a no-contest in his resume. That happened when he fought Belal Muhammad at UFC Fight Night 187. Edwards looked like he was dominating the fight in the second round when he hit Muhammad with an illegal knee. That fight ended a streak of 8 consecutive wins by Edwards.

Leon Edwards’ Father

Leon Edwards’ father was a leader of a Jamaican gang known as The General. Because his dad was involved in illegal activities, he moved his family to England. But they would meet him only on weekends because they lived apart. The older Edwards stayed in London with his mother while Leon, his mom, and younger brother Fabian lived in a crime-infested neighborhood in Birmingham called Aston. 

In 2004, Edwards’ father was shot dead in a London nightclub. Reports say that it was about a fight over money. Leon would later say this about his dad:

“Looking back at it now, as a man and in the circumstances that he was in, he did what he could do and provide for his family. I think any man would do the same in the circumstances. I love my daddy.”

Edwards did his best not to talk about his father. In fact, his old man’s name has never been divulged in any media. But during the lead-up to his fight against Colby Covington, the American made mention of Edwards’ father during the pre-fight press conference:

“On Saturday night, I’m going to bring you to a place you never want to be. I’m going to bring you to the seventh level of hell. We’ll say what’s up to your dad while we’re there”. 

But Colby did not end there. He made further comments on Leon’s dad during an interview with Ag.fight.

“What about the victims of the harm that Leon’s father did to them? He was a sex trafficker and drug lord, he killed people. The guy’s a scumbag. Why would I feel bad? I have no sympathy for that guy. What about the victims’ families that live on right now that have to live through all the things that he did to them, how he tormented those people? So, no I don’t feel bad for him.”

Leon Edwards Plays for Soccer Aid

Last year, Leon Edwards became the first UFC athlete to participate in the Soccer Aid for UNICEF, the biggest celebrity football match that raises money for charity.

 Edwards played for the Soccer Aid World XI FC team in a match played at the iconic Old Trafford Stadium in Greater Manchester, England. Rocky teamed up with the likes of retired Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, performing artist Stormy, former One Direction singer Liam Payne, and Tyson Fury’s half-brother boxer Tommy.

“It’s an honor for me to be playing and helping raise money for such a great cause. Come and support us – Soccer Aid is a great family day out. Through MMA I have built a great platform and fanbase. I hope others will support me in raising money for children and families across the world.” Edwards said.

Edwards’ World team won the match 4-2, with team captain Bolt scoring the first goal of the match. The England team rallied with two consecutive goals courtesy of Asa Butterfield and Paul Scholes. However, Team World’s Robbie Keane scored two consecutive goals while Kim Cetinay netted to give the World team their fifth consecutive victory.

Leon Edwards’ Girlfriend

Leon Edwards has a son named Jayon who is seen regularly with him. There are no exact details on Leon’s kid although, in 2022, news reports suggested that he was six years old. Likewise, Jayon’s mother is unidentified as Leon Edwards has been very secretive about his personal life and prefers to keep it very private.

It’s also unclear who the current UFC welterweight champion is dating or if Leon Edwards has a girlfriend. He’s been seen with women in many photographs but not one has been linked to him, or at least none that the media knows of. What is clear though is that Leon Edwards isn’t married and has never been married.