“I’m willing to fight anybody. I’m not here to just hold my number and not compete,” Edwards explained. “I’ve been pushing over the last year to fight any of these top guys, I’ve proven it by offering to fight Khamzat.

“He wasn’t even ranked at the time and everyone was ducking him so I said ‘Okay, I’ll step in, I’ll do it.’ He fell out, and Belal Muhammad fell in. I said ‘I’ll do it.’ I’ve proven to the UFC and to myself that I believe I’m number one so I couldn’t give two s**ts who’s number two or three, so that’s what it is. Put them all in.”

UFC 259 FLASHBACK: UFC 259 Results | UFC 259 Scorecards

Grateful to be back in the environment he enjoys most, Edwards says he’s feeling “normal, natural” and excited to finally be back under the lights Saturday evening. And while the biggest challenge some fighters face during a layoff is emulating the intensity of competition in their own gyms, the Brummie has managed to stay sharp during the abyss of a never-ending camp, thanks to his ever-changing return date.

“This is my fourth camp that I’ve had in the last year,” Edwards said with a chuckle. “If I’m not ready now, I’m never going to be ready. It’s all in your preparation. If you prepare correctly, if your mindset is in the right place, I don’t believe in [ring rust].”

“Rocky” cited last weekend’s performances of Dominick Cruz and Islam Makhachev as examples of his thoughts on the fable of ring rust, adding that “people only mention ring rust when the guy comes out and they lose the fight. But when you win, no one mentions anything about time off.”