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Lerone Murphy of England poses on the scale during the UFC 286 ceremonial weigh-in at The O2 Arena on March 17, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Lerone Murphy Has Unfinished Business

Manchester’s Top Featherweight Prospect Brings His Undefeated Record to UFC London

Lerone Murphy is on fire.

Manchester’s fast-rising featherweight is undefeated across all competitions in his MMA career, including a 4-0-1 record in UFC. His ascent includes a win earlier this year against Gabriel Santos at UFC 286 at the O2 Arena in London, an occasion that marked Murphy’s first fight in over a year.

However, that fight against Santos was not always meant to be, Murphy was set to take on fellow English featherweight Nathaniel Wood at UFC 286, but Wood pulled out due to an injury.

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At UFC Fight Night: Aspinall vs Tybura, both Murphy and Wood are featured on the card, but not against each other. Despite facing different opponents this weekend, existing tensions over the canceled bout boiled over in a confrontation between the two fighters earlier in the week.

Regardless of who his opponent is this weekend, the cancellation in March left a bad taste in Murphy’s mouth. Now, he’s prepared to make the most of his latest opportunity and prove that he can get it done on the biggest stage, whether or not his opponent is on short notice or had a full training period.

Lerone Murphy of England poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
Lerone Murphy of England poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

“What’s happened happened, but also I feel like I’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Murphy said. “I’m heading for the top, I want the top contenders. But also, if I would’ve gotten offered Nathaniel, I would’ve taken that with both hands. I don’t run from anybody.”

Murphy is clear about what he aspires to – he wants to make his way to the top ranks of the division, and the latest step in that journey is a fight with Josh Culibao this weekend in his home nation.

UFC London Fight Card Preview

While reaching the summit of the sport is his ultimate mission, his goal on Saturday is to have his hand raised once again at the end of the night, something the 31-year-old has grown quite accustomed to during his career. Before he can accomplish the dreams of one day down the line, Murphy plans on putting on a show for the fans in England and all around the world on Saturday night.

“To be a main card opener, it’s a good position to be in,” Murphy said. “Kicking off the main card, it’s a banger of a fight. It’s gonna be entertaining and everyone knows that.”

Lerone Murphy's Knockout Knee
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Lerone Murphy's Knockout Knee
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Despite his hasty rise through the featherweight ranks, it has not always been smooth sailing for Murphy. He did not fight between his knockout win against Makwan Amirkhani at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi on October 30, 2021, and his win against Santos at UFC 286 on March 18, 2023, an absence of over a year that saw him miss the entirety of 2022.

Now back in the Octagon and feeling better than ever, Murphy feels battle-tested by the adversity that he has faced over the years, both in and out of the sport, and is counting on that resilience to pay dividends both this weekend and going forward.

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“The Miracle” is not going to let the pressure faze him, and he feels prepared to keep his untarnished record intact on Saturday.

“Like the saying, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and it’s made me stronger in mindset and stuff like that.” Murphy said. “But I understand why fighters do feel like that, because in this game, a loss is like a year setback. Obviously it’s a small window as an athlete, so I do get the pressure.”

Order UFC 291: Poirier vs Gaethje

UFC Fight Night: Aspinall vs Tybura took place live from the O2 Arena in London, England on July 22, 2023. See the Final ResultsOfficial Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass