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Rio Ferdinand puts UFC champion Leon Edwards in chokehold

The former Manchester United and England player was guided through the hold by the welterweight champion

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Thursday 07 December 2023 12:41 GMT
Rio Ferdinand puts UFC champion Leon Edwards in chokehold

New footage has shown UFC champion Leon Edwards talking Rio Ferdinand through a rear naked choke – and even allowing the ex-footballer to apply the hold on him.

Ferdinand, who represented Manchester United and England during an illustrious playing career, recently visited Edwards at his gym in Birmingham, interviewing the welterweight champion for TNT Sports.

The pair discussed Edwards’s 2022 title win, which made him Britain’s second UFC champion ever, as well as the 32-year-old’s upcoming defence against Colby Covington.

Ahead of that fight, which headlines UFC 296 in Las Vegas on 16 December, Edwards showed Ferdinand how to apply a rear naked choke – a common submission in jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. Edwards applied the hold on Ferdinand before allowing the 45-year-old to try it himself (which you can see at the top and bottom of this article).

The pair entered the ring at Edwards’s gym and sat on the canvas, with Ferdinand positioned behind the fighter. “This [left] arm around my neck,” Edwards explained. “Pull me to your chest. You want to apply this [left] arm to your [right] bicep, and then that [right arm] behind my head.

“Then you’re gonna open your chest,” Edwards said, before laughing as the choke came into effect. “Sorry!” Ferdinand laughed, before the champion reiterated: “Open your chest up and squeeze [with your arms].”

Rio Ferdinand puts UFC champion Leon Edwards in chokehold

Edwards won the UFC welterweight title with a stunning knockout of Kamaru Usman, stopping the Nigerian-American with a head kick in the final minute of their bout in August 2022. Edwards was behind on the scorecards at the time of the finish, which saw him avenge a points loss to Usman from 2015.

Edwards then retained the title against Usman in a trilogy bout in March, outpointing the former pound-for-pound No 1 at London’s O2 Arena.

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