Leone, 26, fights Rafael Silva in the Bellator Season 9 bantamweight tournament final this Friday, and he's the only Long Island native competing on the card.
"I think it is really cool to be the only fighter representing Long Island," Leone said. "I am currently living in Thailand, but I do know that the fact that MMA is illegal in New York definitely hurts the sport. If it was allowed in New York I think it would really help the sport grow."
Leone, who has rattled off three-straight victories inside the Bellator MMA cage, has victory on his mind, and he plans to notch a knockout at Bellator 102.
The Bellator 102 fight is this Friday night and will air live on Spike TV starting at 9 p.m.
"I see myself winning by knockout," Leone said. I'm going for the KO, not the takedown, but if I have the opportunity for the takedown I will definitely take it."
The winner between Leone and Silva earns a $100,000 check, along with the opportunity to face Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas at a later date.
Leone would become the second Long Islander to win a Bellator tournament, but the first in the bantamweight ranks. He would also be the first Suffolk County native to emerge victorious in a Bellator tournament, as Freeport's Jay Hieron won a Bellator tourney in Season 4.
"I think Dantas and I would be a great match-up. We match-up really well stylistically, but I think it would be a really hard match-up for Dantas," Leone explained. "To earn a title shot means everything to me. It was what I am working toward and what I fight for every day. Earning the title shot would mean the world to me."
Even with a title shot on the line, Leone isn't looking too far ahead.
"Rafael Silva is really good," Leone said. "He has a very good submission game but he has to take me down to be able to use that.
"The keys for me are going to be my scrambling ability, I'll be a little faster than him, and my takedown defense will be important. And when I change levels to threaten with my wrestling, hopefully that will be enough to make him not think about throwing any capoeira kicks. I'll make him tentative with my takedowns."