Australian heavyweight kickboxer Ben Edwards recently announced on social media that he will be making a major leap across to mixed martial arts with his long-term goal, fighting for the world’s premier MMA organisation, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Edwards is already well established in multiple combat sports, having previously fought professional boxing, high level kickboxing while also dipping his toes into hybrid MMA / boxing with promotion Combat8. The 31 year-old Canberra native now embarks on a new journey, and will be focusing all his energy in a foray into the world of mixed martial arts.
“I wanted to switch in 2011 but kickboxing kept dangling carrots in front of us, but there was a few little things like after I beat Paul Slowinski in 2013 in a one-off / non tournament fight International Kickboxer magazine failed to rank me in front of him because of their stupid point system and even when I beat world number four Jamal Ben Saddik in a come from behind victory at Madison Square Garden and was still struggling to make a living I knew my days in the sport were limited. My last few fights were extremely poor performances and a good indicator it was time for me to stop or for a big change. I took a few months off and decided I really want to give this MMA a good go, I can’t retire unless I try. I’ve made some changes in my environment / peer group and have surrounded myself with such a positive group of people and the changes in my moral have been huge. I’m genuinely excited for the future. I have struggled with extreme depression in the past and a lot of it was due to environmental factors and these have been addressed.” Edwards revealed to Fight News Australia.
Edwards has had a long and prestigious career in kickboxing reaching the highest level in his first choice of combat sport, becoming a three-time world champion, travelling, and fighting with top promotions all around the world. Deep down, however, he was a hard-core MMA fan who always dreamed of a career in MMA and fighting for the UFC.
“I was into MMA before I was into any other fight sport. I used to buy UFC tapes from the back of the health / martial arts shop and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Something about seeing that for the first time was strangely familiar and really hit home with me, I felt so naturally drawn towards it in a way I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. Unfortunately kickboxing was the only thing available in my city at the time. I’m a natural in the grappling aspect and I can’t wait to put some wins together and march into the UFC.” Edwards said.
Edwards already has his first fight locked in and is training extensively in all disciplines of his new sport. The humble striker will soon be a full-fledged MMA fighter and is excited by this new endeavour. While not wanting to look too far ahead, Edwards is confident in making a big impact in the sport. The switch has given the Aussie a much-needed boost in motivation, with this new-found desire, he is firm and confident in the direction he would like to go in the long-term.
“My debut is on April 30 here in Canberra for Capital Cage Fights at the Tuggeranong Vikings club.
“If I can add UFC fighter to my three-time world kickboxing titles, Australian heavyweight boxing champion, K1 fighter and Glory fighter I will retire a happy man and look forward to opening my own gym and training the next generation.
“I will arguably be the most accomplished striker to compete in the UFC.”