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Leon Edwards on Darren Till callout: ‘Everyone else thinks he’s the second coming of God, but I don’t’

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Edwards vs Barberena
Leon Edwards defeated Peter Sobotta at UFC London.
Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Leon Roberts made his wishes clear at UFC London.

After extending his five-fight Octagon win streak with a buzzer-beating TKO over Peter Sobotta on Saturday night, Roberts turned his attention cageside and directly called out Darren Till, who was seated in the audience at the O2 Arena. Roberts called for a fight against the Scouse contender for May 27 as the main event of UFC Liverpool, and he doubled down on his request after UFC London’s conclusion.

“That’s really what I want,” Edwards said at the event’s post-fight press conference. “Like I said before, I’ve beaten top-ranked guys, better guys than Till’s fought, on the come-up. Somehow he leapfrogged me to get the Donald Cerrone fight, so it is what it is. I feel like I’m the No. 1 welterweight in the world, he thinks he’s the No. 1 welterweight in the world, so let’s prove it in May in Liverpool and go from there.”

Edwards has quietly put together one of the best runs in the UFC’s 170-pound division. Since losing a 2015 decision to Kamaru Usman, the 26-year-old Birmingham resident has rebounded to beat a slew of game opponents, notching victories over the likes of Albert Tumenov, Vicente Luque, and Bryan Barberena. He kept that streak alive at UFC London with a last-second stoppage of Sobotta which tied the the record for the latest stoppage in a three-round fight in UFC history.

And Edwards did so even despite having a less than ideal training camp heading into UFC London.

“Coming into this camp, the last two or three weeks I’ve been ill,” Edwards said. “I had chicken pox for like 10 days, so I was bed-bound for 10 days. So I knew coming in it would be a slow start, but it’s all good, it’s all good, I got the finish. A seven-out-of-10 performance, but it is what it is. I got the finish and got the win and I’m on a five-fight win streak now, top-15 in the world, so life is good.”

Edwards now hopes that his callout of Till leads him to a matchup against his English countryman.

Till is generally considered one of the top up-and-comers in the UFC’s welterweight division, and the fact that the UFC engineered its entire debut trip to Liverpool around Till speaks volumes about how the promotion feels about the Scouser.

But so far Edwards isn’t impressed.

“From what I’ve seen, Darren is good on his front foot,” Edwards said. “He’s only good when he’s coming forward. When you back him up, he’s not as good. I’ve never seen him on his back, so I’ll test that out as well, but I feel I’ll go out there and I’ll beat him. He’s a standard Thai boxing style, he comes forward, arm guard wide, and there’s nothing that’s amazing to me when I watch Till. So everyone else thinks he’s the second coming of God, but I don’t.”

If the Till matchup doesn’t come to fruition, Edwards has a backup plan as well.

He’s already the No. 15 welterweight on the UFC’s official media-generated rankings, and that number is sure to improve next week. So if not May in Liverpool, Edwards hopes to land a top-10 opponent stateside on July 7 at UFC 226.

“There’s not many guys in the welterweight division who are on a five-fight win streak, so 100 percent, if not Till, I’ll push for the July card, DC-Stipe in Vegas,” Edwards said.

“These guys won’t come over, the top-10 guys, they refuse to come over to the U.K. to fight me, so I feel I’ll have to go over to the States and hunt them down and try to get a fight there. So my next fight, if not Till, I’ll go to the States in July and push for a top-10 guy there.”