Bellator 224: Christian Edwards doesn't mind embracing 'Jon Jones training partner' label

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – It took a little while for him to get used to it, but Christian Edwards has embraced the “Jon Jones training partner” label heading into his pro debut at Bellator 224

Wednesday, the JacksonWink prospect told MMA Junkie he’s accepted the notoriety even though he wasn’t initially fond of it. He’s come to realize it’s more of a compliment than a label.

“At first, I didn’t like the whole ‘Jon Jones training partner’ thing, to be honest,” Edwards said. “But now I embrace it. It’s part of the game, I guess. I should be grateful. Not everybody gets to train with the greatest fighter of all time.”

Edwards and Jones ran their camps side-by-side. At UFC 239 this past Saturday, Jones beat challenger Thiago Santos with a close split decision. And Edwards said he was impressed with the Brazilian’s performance.

“(Jon and I) were both going through camp together,” Edwards said. “We sparred a lot. We definitely helped each other a lot. He taught me some really cool techniques. It was a real pleasure going through that training camp with him.

“Honestly, I really didn’t think Thiago was going to give him as tough of a fight as he did. That was a really impressive performance by Thiago Santos. I think Jon was probably surprised, too, more than anybody. It was a good fight. I really think Thiago Santos, once he heals up, will be back even stronger.”

Bellator 224 takes place Friday at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. The main card airs on Paramount following prelims on MMA Junkie.

The 22-year-old light heavyweight originally was slated to make his highly anticipated debut at Bellator 218 in March. But his opponent, Roman Huerta, missed weight by more than 20 pounds.

“It took a minute,” Edwards said. “I was kind of upset about it. I just looked at it like it’s more time for me to grow and add more tools to my tool set. I think that my performance will be even more impressive than it would have been back in March.”

Friday night, Edwards (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) meets Justin Vargas (3-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). Although he said he respects his opponent, Edwards thinks he’s way ahead of him.

“Not disrespect to my opponent – I’ve watched tape on him,” Edwards said. “I’m going to be able to finish the fight wherever I want to. If I want to finish it on the ground, I’ll finish it on the ground. If I want to finish it on the feet, I’ll finish it on the feet. But I’m going to finish it for sure.

“It’s not going to go to the judges.”

For more on Bellator 224, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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