SAN JOSE, Calif. – Don’t get it twisted. Adli Edwards is happy to finally be with Bellator – but that’s only part of it.
Ahead of his debut at Bellator 277, Edwards (9-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is elated, but his plans are long-term. He doesn’t intend on being a flash in the pan. Edwards wants to make a name for himself and has the opportunity to do that immediately with a short-notice booking against Aaron Pico (9-3 MMA, 9-3 BMMA).
“I feel like I’m fulfilling my dreams and it feels really good,” Edwards told reporters including MMA Junkie at a post-fight news conference Wednesday. “This is not an, ‘I’m just happy to be here.’ I want to do more. I want to fight for a world title. I want to win a world title. I’m hoping to do that and build that way. It’s nice to see all my sacrifice finally paying off now.
The past two weeks have been wild. On April 2, Edwards defeated Josh Harvey at XMMA 4, a fight in which he was outweighed on the scales by 10 pounds the day prior. On April 7, Edwards received the call for the short-notice opportunity and a multifight offer from Bellator.
“I think the best way to describe it is ‘chaos.’ It’s been wild,” Edwards told MMA Junkie. “We got the call at the end of last week. I’ve just been getting my medicals done, logistics figured out. It’s just been a whirlwind – really crazy. We’re just trying to get everything organized right now. I’m sure it’ll hit me later, the gravity of what’s going on. But right now, it’s just ‘get things done.’”
“… I couldn’t let it pass by. I’ve been waiting for this for so long. This has been the dream for 15 years. Maybe longer, I’ve been looking forward to doing this. When that offer came by, it was a definitive, ‘We’re doing this.’”
A tall task is in front of him, but a doable one, according to Edwards, who trains under UFC alumnus Marcus Davis in North Carolina. While Pico is a legitimately difficult test, Edwards thinks he possesses a few x-factors to victory.
“I think I’m a lot better at a lot of things than these guys,” Edwards said. “Across the board, overall, on the averages, I have better tools to deal with him. Definitely every fight, he’s brought a better version of himself and has continued to grow. I’m excited to see what he brings for this next one. I’ve got a lot of interesting problems for him to figure out. Even though he’s a last-minute fight for me, I’m a last-minute fight for him, too. He’s got to figure me out. He doesn’t have much time to, either. I’ve got a lot of tricks up my sleeve, to say the least.”
Bellator 277 takes place Friday at SAP Center with the main card airing on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.