Fabian Edwards not overawed by Lyoto Machida ahead of Bellator 281: 'He's not my legend'
English middleweight contender isn't concerned with Lyoto Machida's CV. He's just looking forward to entertaining a British crowd again as he prepares for action at Bellator 281 in London.
It's been three long years since Fabian Edwards last fought in front of an English crowd. But now, ahead of his return at Bellator 281 in London, he said he's ready to claim a huge win over a legend of the cage.
Edwards is set to take on former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida in the co-main event at the OVO Arena on Friday night, but despite the Brazilian's stellar record on the world stage, Edwards admits his opponent's prime passed him by as he made his first steps into mixed martial arts.
"He’s not my legend and I didn’t grow up watching him thinking, 'This guy’s great,'" he told reporters at Bellator 281 media day in London.
"I came into the sport late and he doesn’t mean a lot to me personally. At the end of the day it is just another fight for me."
Despite not placing his opponent on a pedestal ahead of their matchup, Edwards did reveal that he is very aware of the dangers Machida poses inside the cage, but also stated that he doesn't expect any new wrinkles to the Brazilian's game when they meet at Wembley this weekend.
"I think I’ll get the best version (of Machida)," he said.
"The people he has lost to are champions and a No.1 contender. He hasn’t lost to random people who have been dragged in – he’s lost to top people.
"I’ll stick to what I do. He’s been around for so long and he doesn’t change his game.
"We’re not going to see a different version of Machida. He’ll come out there and do what he does, nothing is going to change. I will be ready for his style."
Machida has dropped down a weight class to face Edwards, following defeat to Ryan Bader in the light heavyweight grand prix. Edwards warned that any thoughts about having the advantage after moving down a division would be foolish. He also stated that the Brazilian's desire to bounce back into the win column could leave him more open to counter shots than in past fights.
"I feel like when your back’s against the wall you are more dangerous, but you are more susceptible to make mistakes," he said.
"If he thinks he’ll come in and bulldoze me, he needs to think again."
Edwards is also looking to bounce back, following back-to-back decision losses to Costello van Steenis and Austin Vanderford. His last finish came back in May of 201. Three years on, he said he'd love nothing more than to claim another three years on against Machida on Friday night.
"If I go out there and finish him it’ll definitely make a statement," he said.
"I'm excited to go out there and perform in front of a crowd. With COVID I haven’t fought in front of a home crowd in three years, so I’m looking forward to feeding off their energy."
Photo credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA