FABIAN EDWARDS and his brother Leon grew up in poverty in Jamaica – but they’re on the verge of making mixed martial arts history after defying the odds.
The Edwards brothers’ journey began in Kingston in a one-room wooden shack, which was only protected by a shoddy tin and zinc roof.
BELLATOR MMA / LUCAS NOONANFabian Edwards is on the brink of becoming Bellator middleweight champion[/caption]
Fabian’s brother Leon spectacular claimed UFC gold last AugustGETTY
Victory for Fabian at Bellator 299 this week will see the Edwards brothers become the first siblings to hold UFC and Bellator gold at the same timeTHE SUN
INSTAGRAM@FABIAN_EDWARDSMMAThe Edwards brothers have come a long way from the wooden shack they were raised in in Jamaica[/caption]
They were surrounded by drug use, violence and even murder from an early age, so much so that their mother uprooted them to Birmingham to provide them with a better life.
Erdington’s Jarvis Road Estate proved to be somewhat of a haven in comparison to Kingston, but it wasn’t long before both boys found themselves running around with the wrong crowd.
Aware that they were going down a dangerous path, their mum urged them to try their hand at MMA in a desperate bid to keep them off the streets.
But even she couldn’t have imagined her boys potentially makingby becoming the first brothers to simultaneously hold titles in the UFC and Bellator – the sport’s biggest promotions.
That scenario could very well become reality on Friday night when Fabian challenges the undefeated Bellator 299 in Dublin.Eblen for the middleweight title at
The opportunity to create his own piece of MMA history after brother Leon’s sensational scooping of the isn’t fazing Fabian, who told SunSport: “I’m relishing it, I really am.” welterweight title last August
INSTAGRAM@FABIAN_EDWARDSMMAThe Edwards brothers grew up in poverty in Kingston, Jamaica[/caption]
INSTAGRAM@FABIAN_EDWARDSMMAFabian has been inspired by brother Leon’s title success[/caption]
“I’m looking forward to going out there and getting my moment. Getting my moment where I go in there and [shine].
“I do feel like I’m gonna put on a great performance and probably get a stoppage.
“It would be good to see him actually shed some tears, because, obviously, he’s seen the work that I’ve put in [over the years].”
Like elder brother Leon, Fabian is thankful for his mum’s efforts as a single immigrant parent and for pushing the sport on them.
“It’s kind of mad [where we are now],” he reflected. “Sometimes I do forget the position that me and my brother are in.
“To be in such a tough sport and to be at the top of the sport in our divisions – I kind of forget that sometimes.
“I can’t wait to go out there present the belt to my mum and show my kids and my team and everyone. It’s going to be a special moment.”
Fabian had world title aspirations from the moment he entered the MMA as a fresh-faced teenager, but even he admits it’s “surreal” to be so close to completing a lifetime’s work.
BELLATOR MMA / LUCAS NOONANFabian Edwards’ shot at Bellator glory comes against reigning champ Johnny Eblen[/caption]
BELLATOR MMA / LUCAS NOONANEdwards punched his ticket to a title shot with a dominant win over former champ Gegard Mousasi[/caption]
“I knew I’d get to this position, but I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m here now. I’m one fight away from making it happen.’
“It does feel a little bit surreal. But I feel like this is the moment for me.”
Fabian’s immense faith in himself was tested during his two-fight skid to Costello van Steenis and Austin Vanderford, defeats which made many question his title credentials.
“When you go through a loss, you’ve got two questions,” he said. “It’s either: Are you going to hang it up? Or what’s?”
“And I was like, I definitely wasn’t going to hang it up because as a young fighter, I lost two close fights. That was the question I asked myself.
“Once I knew I wasn’t going to hang it up, I was like, ‘Okay, let’s not dwell on it too long and keep pushing.’”
Fabian’s resilience in the face of his existential crisis paid off as he regrouped and picked up career-best wins over former Strikeforce and UFC light-heavyweight champs Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida either side of a victory over Charlie Ward.
Before he can think about joining his brother as a world champion, Fabian must do what 13 men have failed to do and get the better of American Top Team’s Eblen.
BELLATOR MMA / LUCAS NOONANFabian Edwards isn’t fazed by the problems Johnny Eblen brings to the table[/caption]
Eblen’s style, however, has done little to impress Fabian, who said: “He’s gone out there and he’s beat Mouasi and he’s beat [Anatoly] Tokov.
“He’s done okay, he’s utilised his wrestling and that’s what’s got him to where he’s at.
“He’s just a wrestler that boxes a bit. I think in his head, he thinks he’s a lot more entertaining and fan-pleasing than he actually is.”
Fabian’s slight disregard for Eblen’s skillset shouldn’t be mistaken as arrogance, he just believes he firmly has the beating of the American.
He said: “For the last nine weeks, when I’m driven back and forth to the gym – day in and day out – I’ve seen two predictions.
“One, I see myself catching him in the second or third round. Or I see a five-round war where I go out there, dominate and shut down his game.
“That’s the only prediction. We’re preparing for war, but I don’t see it going that way. I see a clean five-rounder or a stoppage.”
Fans can tune into Bellator 299: Eblen vs Edwards live from the 3Arena, Dublin, on BBC iPlayer from 9pm on Saturday, 23 September.
BELLATOR MMA / LUCAS NOONANFabian Edwards is confident he’ll have his hand raised this weekend[/caption]