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Leon Edwards hails Conor McGregor, says Conor changed the sport

LockerRoom Team
04 February 2024

UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards recently shared his thoughts on the influence of Conor McGregor in the MMA world, emphasizing that despite personal controversies, McGregor has played a pivotal role in elevating the sport's popularity.

McGregor, a former two-division champion, has been absent from the UFC scene for the past few years due to a broken leg. However, his imminent return has kept him in the spotlight, with potential comeback dates set for UFC 300 on April 13 and a July 29 UFC card. In addition to his fighting career, McGregor's mainstream presence is set to continue with the premiere of a Road House remake on March 8.

Speaking on Up Front With Simon Jordan, Edwards, awaiting an official booking as the UFC's welterweight champion, praised McGregor's impact on MMA's growing popularity.

“For me, I think he’s great for the sport,” Edwards expressed. “I think he’s definitely brought the sport forward for the casual fans. He’s one of these guys that you either like him or don’t like him, he is who he is, but as far as—what he’s achieved in sport, you can’t take away from him. He did become the first-ever [simultaneous] two-division world champion, but he can talk all the s***, he is actually a good fighter as well behind it.

“For the sport, he definitely helped the sport. He didn’t take nothing away from it, he definitely gave more as far as pushing it for the mainstream.”

While acknowledging McGregor's contributions to the sport, Edwards did not shy away from addressing the controversies surrounding McGregor's personal life. The UFC star has faced numerous legal issues, including accusations of sexual assault and several public incidents, such as the infamous UFC 223 bus incident in 2018.

Edwards expressed his disapproval of McGregor's off-the-canvas behaviour but highlighted that it doesn't diminish McGregor's influence on the business side of MMA.

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“I’m not an admirer of his,” Edwards stated. “I’m judging from the competitive part of it, the self-promoting part of it. His personal life is—I’m sure there are other people in boxing or in football doing weird s***, but for me, I couldn’t give two s**** about his personal life. It’s more just about what he’s achieved in the game. The self-promotion part of it, to each their own, that’s what he’s going to do. He’s not my mate, so it is what it is.”

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