Edwards believes that beating Shipman on Nov. 23 will prove that he’s the best middleweight in the U.K. After reaching that milestone, he wants to show he’s the best middleweight in Europe. Costello van Steenis is his target on that goal, and then, he moves on to fight elite middleweights on Bellator’s books.
“Being co-main event on a London card that’s headlined by Page, I think in that sense it is the biggest fight of my career, (but) not so much the opponent,” Edwards told MMA Fighting.
Shipman’s stock took a dive following a stoppage loss to Van Steenis in his previous outing. Still, there’s a score to be settled for U.K. fans, according to undefeated Edwards.
“It’s something that needed to get put to bed,” he said. “I don’t really see it as me risking everything, but I do feel like it’s a bigger fight for him. I’m going to be training very hard for this, but he’ll be over-training, because he knows once he loses to me, it’s over for him.
“I feel like after I finish him, he’ll have to start building himself from the bottom again. He’s lost to the guy that Bellator sees as the best guy in Europe. I’ll be effectively wiping him out.”
If everything goes according to plan for Edwards, he insists that Van Steenis is the fight that’s next.
“I’m going to wipe Van Steenis out, so people don’t question who’s the best guy in Europe,” he said. “After that, I’m gonna wipe out the Americans and these old legends. That’s the way I’m gonna chip away and forge my path to a world title shot. I don’t want to leave any doubt. I don’t want people saying, ‘Why didn’t he fight that guy?’”
Edwards will be in a position to renegotiate with Bellator after his next two bouts, and so a new deal will make it as financially viable as it its competitively.
“I’m definitely happy,” said Edwards. “I’ve been with the company for less than a year, and I’m on my second contract. By the time I beat the next two people, it will be time for my next contract. That will be the elite contract, on that contract I’ll be happy to fight the likes of (Gegard) Mousasi, that little juice head (Rafael) Lovato (Jr.) and all the rest of them.”