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Leon Edwards Recalls Rough Upbringing in Jamaica & U.K. - "Killing Became Normal to Me as a Kid"

Why? What if? Those are the questions I ask myself every day.

What if my dad didn't bring me to the United Kingdom? What if my gym never opened in the Erdington neighborhood of Birmingham, England? It's just mad -- it's a crazy thing.

Why was I the one who made it off the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, who escaped the killing, the drugs and the poverty when so many others didn't?

I don't have the answer, really. But I do know I have a purpose. It's not just to be a UFC fighter or the future welterweight champion of the world. It's more than that.

I was born in Kingston. I lived with my father, my mother and my brother, Fabian, in a wooden shack with a zinc roof. It wasn't a one-bedroom; it was one room, period. In that room was the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom. We had one bed that we all slept in. That was most people's upbringing where I'm from.

It was tough, but as a kid, it just seemed normal because everyone around you was living the same way. I was still happy as a kid. My mom and my dad provided me with most things I wanted in life. It was never a sad story.

I realized as I got a bit older why I was the first kid in my neighborhood to have a remote-control car and a bike. My father was involved in, let's just say, questionable activities. Everyone would show him respect. I knew he was important in the community. I knew what he did -- everyone knew what he did.

Because of my father, I was somewhat protected. But Kingston was crazy. It was filled with crime and gangs. The road you lived on was your "lane." That's your area and you can't go anywhere else. You're constantly beefing with people down the road from you. At night, you couldn't go down those other roads. Everyone is broke, but they're still warring over territory. It's probably the poverty and hunger that does it to men. It's mad.


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