Exclusive Interview: Fabian Edwards talks Bellator London via Newsome MMA

Fabian “The Assassin” Edwards (8-0) and Mike “Seabass” Shipman (13-2) finally get the opportunity to settle their differences this coming weekend as they square off with one another in the co main event of Bellator London. The two middleweights have exchanged barbs on social media for some time which has lead to the hugely anticipated constest this Saturday night.

I caught up with Fabian Edwards during fight week to get his take on the feud beteeen the two, how he see’s the match up playing out and what the future has in store for one of Europe’s most talented fighters.

“I don’t like the man, he is an idiot”. Edwards stated when asked his opinion on his opponent.

The story emerged this week of Mike Shipman previously offering to fight Edwards in the gym to settle their differences, a proposal that the Birmingham man did not take kindly to. “To be honest I have been over this story time and time again. I can’t be bothered to even tell the story. Any professional fighter that is signed to the same company but would choose to have a fight in the street or in a gym is stupid to me. I don’t like him, he’s an idiot and that’s it, that’s what the beef is. I saw him today (Tuesday), I saw his face and I was just raging, and its only because Bellator pre-warned us that if I put hands on him the fight would be off, that I didn’t put hands on him. He’s a t**t.”

Despite the bad blood between the two fighters, Edwards does not anticipate the grudge having an impact on his performance inside the cage come Saturday night. “I feel like this is a typical fight. He’s sees it as he is the bigger, stronger man, I see it as I am just a smarter, quicker, more agile guy with a better fight IQ. I am going to go in there, be smart, take my time and finish him in the 2nd round when he is swinging for the fences due to steroid rage.”

When probed further about the accusations Edwards was making regarding Shipman taking or having taken performance enhancing drugs, the “Assassin” pulled no punches as to how he felt about the situation. “I genuinely believe this. I have always heard rumours that his whole gym is on the stuff. He can deny it all he wants. Today (Tuesday) when I said to him Bellator is (drug) testing I saw a little flicker in his eyes where he was thinking ‘s**t I might get caught here’. It is what it is. Performance enhancing drugs doesn’t put muscle on your chin. When I go out there and crack him with some big shots, no amount of juice will save him.”

Despite having a perfect record of 8-0, the Team Renegade man has decided to change things up a little for this camp in order to continue to evolve as a mixed martial artist. “I feel like I have changed things around a bit. I have still kept my style but I am still growing into that style and there are a lot of things that I haven’t shown. I feel like Saturday you will see a more established guy, a more well rounded person and I’m looking forward to showcasing my skills.”

Those skills have helped Edwards gain a reputation as a fearsome finisher, with a number of spectacular highlight reel finishes on his record over the likes of Rafal Cejrowski, Claudio Conti and Falco Neto. Despite that reputation, forcing a finish is not something that crosses his mind when the cage door closes. “I just fight my fight and these things happen. I am a killer. when I see an opportunity I will take someone’s head off. I don’t force anything. I have been in there before when I was younger and tried to force things and the finish didn’t come.”

The middleweight showdown is set to occupy the co main event slot come Saturday night, however with a change of opponent for MVP in the main event, many on social media are now calling the Edwards vs Shipman clash the people’s main event, something Edwards is relishing. “It feels good knowing that people are tuning in because of me, this is the people’s main event and the fight that everyone is going to be looking forward to. I feel like the fight is going to deliver, I am going to go in there and deliver.”

On the topic of social media, I was keen to gain an insight into how he viewed the interactions between fighters and the public and his experience of social media – given his comments often divide the public opinion. “I am just focused on me. I get messages and abuse and it doesn’t bother me one bit. These people can give abuse on social media but if I saw them in real life I would scare the life out of them. There’s no point being wound up by any of the comments, I just move on and focus on what is important which is the fight.”

A win on Saturday night over Shipman – a former BAMMA champion and a very well established, tough opponent on the European scene – Edwards has a plan outlined for his march towards Bellator middleweight gold. A feat he believes he will achieve in 2020. “I have still got 4 fights left after this fight. After my two wins I re-signed another deal. I am looking forward to collecting that middleweight belt off the old juice head. I believe after Saturday and maybe a couple more opponents, I will be ready (for a title shot) by the end of 2020. The end of next year we will both (Fabian and brother Leon Edwards) be holding world titles.”

When asked about any final messages to Mike Shipman ahead of them locking horns on Saturday night, Edwards issued clear instructions to his counterpart. “Just show up, don’t be a meathead, don’t do anything silly, don’t get yourself injured. Just show up and I’ll do the rest.”

This huge middleweight clash goes down on Saturday night (November 23rd) from the SSE Arena in London. Make sure you check it out is it is one you will not want to miss!

Fabian gave the following message to his team ahead of Saturday night. “Massive shout out to my team, Renegade, Corefit, Velocity, my new boxing coach Ash Begg, and everyone that has helped me with this training camp. It is going to be a big performance on Saturday night.”