Exclusive – Lerone Murphy Talks Potential Return at UFC 304 in Manchester, Shares Prediction for Topuria vs. Holloway Title Fight

'The Miracle' spoke about his big win over Edson Barboza, potentially competing in Manchester on July 27, and the rumored title fight between Topuria and Holloway

Lerone Murphy
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Lerone Murphy broke into the featherweight rankings with an impressive performance against Edson Barboza in his first UFC headliner.

‘The Miracle’ extended his undefeated streak to 14 via a unanimous decision win over Barboza at a UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas. Originally, Murphy was scheduled to fight Dan Ige in February but was forced to withdraw due to an injury. As a result, ’50k’ was matched up with Andre Fili, and Murphy was paired up with Barboza. 

Speaking with Mike Owens in a MiddleEasy exclusive interview, Murphy believes that the situation ultimately worked out in his favor, giving him both a higher-ranked opponent and a main event slot for the first time in his UFC career. 

“It wasn’t an upgrade in terms of skill because Ige is very dangerous as well,” Murphy said. “He’s got his own tools and a different puzzle to solve than Edson but in terms of name value and the main event slot, it was a bigger fight and it kinda surprised me to get that, to be honest. When the fight with Ige got canceled, I thought maybe I would have to fight backward. At the time, I was ranked 14 and I thought I would have to fight someone coming into the rankings, but the UFC gave me the opportunity which I’m grateful for.”

Hailing from Manchester, many expect Murphy to make the quick turnaround for when the promotion heads back to the UK on Saturday, July 27 for UFC 304. Asked about appearing on the card, Murphy said he’s focusing on recovering both mentally and physically following his fight with Barboza, but if all goes well, you can expect to see him on the UFC’s next big event in England. 

“I’m just giving myself a mental break so I’m not thinking about UFC 304,” Murphy said. “In my mind, I’m not fighting. I’ve got to tell myself I’m not fighting. Recover and if all is well, I’ll get booked.”

As for who Murphy could find himself fighting, ‘The Miracle’ is only looking up the ladder, hoping to see a top 10 contender standing across from him inside the Octagon. 

“That wouldn’t really make sense for me,” Murphy said when asked about potentially fighting down from his No. 11 spot in the rankings. “It will come down to if somebody ranked is available as well and that’s the thing I’ve seen from a lot of the fighters. It’s not even about being healthy. It’s about what fight makes sense and if other people are healthy. Obviously, I want to be fighting somebody in the top 10 next. I feel like I’m on a roll now so I want somebody in the top 10, but they have to be available.

“That’s a good thing about me getting ranked now because I haven’t fought anybody [in the rankings]. I wanted to freshen the division a bit. I feel like the division is on fire now. There’s so many great matchups there.” 

With the featherweight division seeing a bit of a British invasion courtesy of surging fighters like Arnold Allen, Jack Shore, and Nathaniel Wood, there is a good chance that Murphy could eventually find himself matched up with one of his countrymen. Asked how he feels about potentially competing against another English fighter, ‘The Miracle’ said:

“Whoever’s name comes through that email, I’m fighting them,” Murphy said without hesitation. “It’s as simple as that. I’m not gonna say no because a guy is English. I would prefer to fight other people, but I’m not going to say no.”

Lerone Murphy Shares His Prediction For Ilia Topuria vs. Max Holloway Title Clash

Of course, you can’t talk about the featherweight division without talking about the reigning 145-pound king, Ilia Topuria.

In February, ‘El Matador’ shocked the world with a sensational second-round knockout of Alexander Volkanovski to claim the crown. Since then, Topuria has seemingly locked onto Max Holloway, teasing a September showdown with the newly minted BMF titleholder

“He created the hype about himself that he deserves,” Murphy said of Topuria. “He’s been on a tear, knocking people out, but in all seriousness, he’s going to have to fight Max Holloway or Volkanovski again. They’re the biggest fights in the division and I want to see him fight Max, to be honest, but everyone’s forgetting about Volkanovski.

“[Volkanovski] has been on a tear. One of the longest-reigning featherweights along with Aldo and everyone’s just forgotten about him. But for me, the thing is you’ve been knocked out twice in a row. I want to see him take a break. I want to see him take at least nine months so he can get back to full fitness and challenge for the title properly because I think the turnaround was way too quick and that definitely played a factor. Maybe not physically, but mentally he did not look the same.”

As for who Murphy sees coming out on top in a featherweight title tilt between Topuria and Holloway, ‘The Miracle’ sees ‘Blessed’ picking up the win and once again becoming the 145-pound champ. 

“It’s hard to bet against Ilia Topuria, but Holloway looked sensational against Gaethje,” Murphy said. “Topuria’s power is next level, but I’m picking Max.”

Watch the full interview below:


Published on May 27, 2024 at 6:38 pm
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