UNCASVILLE, Conn. – As Christian Edwards put the finishing touches on his training camp in Albuquerque, N.M., he received an invitation from one of the consensus greatest fighters of all time.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones invited the Bellator prospect to his house – an offering to break down film of the 205 pounder’s Bellator 249 opponent, Hamza Salim.
While his relationship with Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) has been documented and become somewhat normal for Edwards (3-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), taking a step back, he sometimes can’t believe it.
“It’s definitely surreal for me for sure,” Edwards told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “I’ve been watching fights since I was 11 years old. I think it’s humbling to think that I have that kind of support from somebody so great. He invited me out. I didn’t even ask. He just invited me to his house. He said, ‘Let’s watch tape on this guy. Let’s study and let’s work some counters for this guy.’ I’m really grateful that he did that. It means a lot to me.”
Recently, Edwards said, he hasn’t worked with Jones as much. In anticipation of his ascent into the heavyweight division, Jones has been focusing mostly on getting bigger and stronger. With that said, Edwards was able to get some training in with Jones during this camp.
“He’s put some meat on his bones for sure,” Edwards said. “He’s getting (really) big muscles, for sure – like, real big muscles, which is scary. He was big before, but he’s getting even bigger, which is pretty scary if you ask me.”
As for his own improvement, Edwards looks to put it on full display Thursday against Salim (5-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA). Edwards thinks he’s rounded out his game, and a win at Bellator 249 will show that.
“I just feel like the kind of pace I put in my fights is going to be a little too much for him, and he’s going to break under that kind of pressure. I’m going to be able to capitalize on that. … Expect a lot of violence – a very violent and a very strong performance on my behalf.”
Bellator 249 takes place Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The main card airs on CBS Sports Network after prelims on CBSsports.com.
Check out MMA Junkie’s full Bellator 249 pre-fight interview in the video above.