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Birmingham's judo reputation taken over by UFC star Leon Edwards

30 Aug 2020 19:30

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The city of Birmingham has a proud heritage of hosting events. In 1999, Birmingham hosted the World Judo Championships to wide acclaim. The 1995 Birmingham organised the European Championships and besides all national championships in the past, Birmingham has been one of the cities hosting Judo World Cups at world level in one of the biggest cities in the UK.

Nowadays the city cheers for Birmingham -born Leon Edwards who is finding himself hot property in the Ultimate Fighting Championship ranks these days and is viewed as the sport’s newest star by journalists and peers alike which has largely been helped by a huge dose of ability and toughness that has seen the 29-year-old win his last eight straight UFC fights and go unbeaten since losing to Kamaru Osman in December 2015.

Edwards was been rewarded for his success with a lucrative multi-fight contract only to see Covid step in and indefinitely postpone his fight with Tyron Woodley which was due to take place on the 21st March.

At 29, Edwards still has the time to make it to the very top and is well on his way to doing so, and despite being born in Kingston, Jamaica, Edwards calls Erdington in Birmingham his home with the second city benefitting from a rich fight history.

Thomas Pardoe is one such fighter hailing from Birmingham who represented Great Britain at boxing the 1932 summer Olympics and Sharon Lee who claimed gold medals at the 1990 commonwealth games in Judoka to name but two.

In fact, the event was such a success and showed the city in high sporting esteem, it no doubt played a role in landing the city the 2022 Commonwealth Games with the Alexander Stadium the main host venue.

Back to Edwards then and he certainly grew up in the right place to be inspired to take on the very best of the UFC but what is next up on his radar?

As we mentioned above, the Tyron Woodley fight is postponed indefinitely but Edwards has been standing firm on his desire to land a title shot or number one contender slot as it seems Woodley has his attention elsewhere eyeing up a bout with Colby Covington with the pair looking like they are locked in to battle on the 19th Sept.

That has left Edwards a little out in the cold, but the 29-year-old is showing no signs of disappointment demanding a fight with an opponent ‘above me’.

So far, Edwards path remains unclear but with the Birmingham fighter currently ranked fourth in the UFC’s Welterweight rankings, he surely won’t have to wait long for a shot at the big time.

With his Brummie roots firmly behind him and still only 29, there is plenty of time for Leon Edwards to make it to the top of the fight game and fly the flag for the second city. 

For Judo fans it’s not only about UFC, there was also a Grand Prix for Visual Impaired athletes but the old judo vibe has gone and the vibe was taken over by UFC.

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Related Judo Photos

  • Hedvig Karakas (HUN), Sarah Loko Guerschner (BEL), Julie Baeyens (BEL), Isabel Fernández (ESP) - World Cup Birmingham (2010, GBR) - © David Finch, Judophotos.com
  • Charline Van Snick (BEL), Taciana Cesar (GBS), Lisa Kearney (IRL), Jun Xiao (CHN) - World Cup Birmingham (2010, GBR) - © David Finch, Judophotos.com
  • Graeme Randall (GBR) - World Championships Birmingham (1999, GBR) - © David Finch, Judophotos.com

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