Edwards became the first man ever to knock out Stephens, dropping him with a right hook and then finishing with ground strikes en route to a first-round win at UFC on FOX 5.
The finish came at 1:55.
"I feel really good," Edwards said. "Jeremy is a tough guy, we trained for each other for a fight in October. It didn't happen, but we got it done tonight."
Edwards certainly did get it done.
The early seconds saw Stephens moving forward and firing off power strikes, but that approach left him open for the finishing sequence. As Stephens fired off an overhand right, Edwards countered with a short but powerful hook that landed first and on the button. The strike floored Stephens, and Edwards pounced, smashing him with elbows and punches from side control until the ref had seen enough.
Edwards improved to 42-18-1 with the win.
Stephens was fighting for the first time after a bizarre October episode in Minnesota that saw him arrested on the morning of a scheduled bout with Edwards. He was eventually extradited to Iowa, where he is facing two felony charges of willful injury and causing bodily injury or mental illness.
The loss was his third straight, dropping his record to 20-9.