This weekend’s XMMA 4 card is loaded with UFC and Bellator veterans on a scale which we haven’t seen on a regional card in some time. Twelve fighters who have stepped into the UFC’s octagon will make the walk Saturday in New Orleans. For many prospects, that may be a tad intimidating – being surrounded by folks who have ‘been there, done that’. However, for Adli Edwards, it won’t feel weird at all.
“I think people look at things with this sheen over it, like it’s some sort of magical experience or some sort of difference environment like it’s next or you made it there,” Edwards said. “I think the paychecks will feel a lot different on the next stage, but it’s just another fight.”
Some of that maturity comes from the fact that Edwards is not your standard 8-1 prospect, nipping at the heels of a big promotion. In his early 30s, Edwards has been fighting for nearly a decade at this point. Additionally, he’s been working under a veteran of the game that makes his experience look like nothing.
Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis made his way to the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter 2. His fifteen-fight UFC career included bouts with Nate Diaz, Dan Hardy and Jeremy Stephens. Davis now hold pads and coaches Edwards, which brings Edwards a lot of his confidence.
“It’s awesome. I just got done hitting some pads with him just a moment ago, and it’s really cool – you can really pull from his experience,” he said. “It’s easy to daydream, and get lost in what your goals are and what you want to become. But I think I’m there and I’m already able to compete with those guys at that level. [Davis] gives me the confidence that I can do that.”
And that confidence will be even more important as he steps onto a card filled with people trying to make the UFC or, in many cases, get back there. And that confidence has Edwards as cool as a cucumber heading into the event, and beyond.
“These are just the people you’re going against. there’s nothing really special about fighting someone in the UFC as opposed to fighting someone on the regional scene or the XMMA card, except they’re a bit better,” Edwards said. “It’s just a scale.”
Edwards fights Josh Harvey on XMMA 4, which you can watch on XMMA.com. You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 29:26.