Most fighters making their professional debut are filled with a feeling of uneasiness and nerves, but not Colorado-based lightweight Marcus Edwards. After a dominant amateur career that saw the fighter go 11-0, now was the time for Edwards to make the jump to the professional ranks.

“It’s time for me to step my game up to the next level,” Edwards told The MMA Corner. “There’s not much left I can do at the amateur level.”

Edwards’ first pro fight will be on June 2 at Ring of Fire 43 in Broomfield, Colo. His opponent will be former NCAA Division I wrestler Justin Gaethje, who like Edwards, has yet to taste defeat in his amateur or pro career.

Edwards shows off his amateur hardware (Twitter)

“I think this is a great match-up for me stylistically,” declared Edwards. “Our styles are totally different. He’s an aggressive wrestler, but I feel this is going to be a great first pro fight for me.”

As if stepping into the cage as a professional for the first time wasn’t enough pressure, the fight against Gaethje is for the Ring of Fire Young Gun lightweight belt. It’s rare that a debuting fighter would be competing for a title, but Edwards isn’t fazed by it.

“I treat every fight like it’s a UFC championship fight,” Edwards explained. “(The belt) is going to mean a lot, but it’s just another step in the road to success. I’m going to appreciate it and live in the moment, but after that it is on to the next one.”

Edwards’ past success in the cage has been a result of his athleticism and in large part, his timely submissions. However, Edwards believes it is something else that has been the key.

“(I’m) going out there having fun and doing what I do best,” said the lightweight. “I’m a fighter at heart. Game plan or not, it’s a fight. A lot of people forget that.”

One aspect that Edwards must adjust to as a professional is five-minute rounds. Yet, the fighter doesn’t feel it will be a factor in his fight or performance.

“It’s not much of a change,” stated Edwards. “We’ve been doing five-minute rounds in practice and keeping up with my strength and conditioning. I’ve been grinding it out and preparing my body for a full 15 minutes. I’ve been pushing hard to be the hardest worker in the gym.”

Edwards (R) delivers a kick (

In addition to going pro, Edwards has made a change in training camps. After spending a portion of his amateur career under the tutelage of Thomas Denny and Team Wildman in Parker, Colo., Edwards elected to join the fast-growing team at Factory X Muay Thai/MMA.

“It’s a tremendous difference,” the fighter exclaimed. “My body has changed so much. My style and mind have evolved. My conditioning has improved. I’ve had the opportunity to train with a number of UFC caliber fighters and I’ve grown so much in the last five to six months (at Factory X).”

Now that training is complete and Edwards is set to lock horns with Gaethje, there is only one more thing left to do.

“I just can’t wait to step in the cage and show everyone what I’ve done,” Edwards said with confidence.

Marcus would like to thank Moe’s BBQ, Tilt-a-Rack, Factory X Muay Thai, Performance MMA, Christopher Reeves Foundation, Jaco, Rockstar Industries, Ugly Ear Fight Gear, his team and God. Follow him on Twitter: @BadIntentions91

Top Photo: Marcus Edwards (Ring of Fire)

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