Dad of UFC title challenger Leon Edwards shot and killed in nightclub

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    British MMA star Leon Edwards is preparing to take on the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world in Kamaru Usman at UFC 278 but it has been a mammoth journey for the fighter.

    Edwards is tipped to perhaps become the welterweight champion in the future, and he recently earned the biggest victory of his career so far with a tremendous win over Nate Diaz via unanimous decision at UFC 263. Dubbed ‘Rocky’, Edwards has been in scintillating form and has won his last nine bouts.

    In fact, the Brit’s last loss came against Usman in December 2015. Edwards will be the underdog on Saturday night, but he has battled and overcome odds stacked against him before.

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    Edwards, dubbed ‘Rocky’, spent the formative years of his life surrounded by crime and drugs in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. He has since revealed his dad was a gang leader in his local neighbourhood.

    “I was born in Kingston. I lived with my father, my mother and my brother, Fabian, in a wooden shack with a zinc roof. It wasn't a one-bedroom; it was one room, period. In that room was the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom,” Edwards told ESPN. “We had one bed that we all slept in. That was most people's upbringing where I'm from.

    “I realised as I got a bit older why I was the first kid in my neighbourhood to have a remote-control car and a bike. My father was involved in, let's just say, questionable activities. Everyone would show him respect. I knew he was important in the community. I knew what he did – everyone knew what he did.”

    After moving to Birmingham, Edwards became embroiled in local gangs and he found out his father had been murdered in a London nightclub while the 30-year-old was still a teenager. He added: “When I was 14, my father was murdered. He was shot and killed at a nightclub in London. It was something to do with money. I don't know what exactly. It was some mad s***, but I knew that it could happen.

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    “But that didn't make it any easier. It f***ed me up. It pushed me more into gang life and crime, toward the negative. My mid-teens were my darkest years.”

    The Jamaican-born star turned to MMA soon after the tragic incident, and has since ensured his life has reached new heights. The 30-year-old UFC fighter has been in electric form and defeated Diaz in his last fight back in June 2021.

    Edwards' unbeaten run of 10 fights across six years has consisted of nine victories – with the only exception being a no-contest decision over Belal Muhammad, which was decided due to an accidental eye poke. He has defeated the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson and Donald Cerrone – and the 30-year-old was called out by rising star Khamzat Chimaev, who offered to fill in for the injured Jorge Masvidal.

    Edwards will clash with Usman at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday August 20.


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