When the UFC booked Leon Edwards against Khamzat Chimaev, there was a considerable degree of incredulity from fans and fighters alike. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson even went so far as to say that Chimaev having the opportunity to fight the #3 ranked welterweight in the world after only three fights is a slap in the face to fighters who have had to work their way up over time.
In fact, both Thompson and Edwards once expressed the same thing in regards to being uninterested in taking on a fight with Khamzat Chimaev, who was even unranked at the time the fights were initially being discussed. UFC President Dana White, on the other hand, believes the fight makes perfect sense and that fighters like Thompson and Edwards should have no reason to deny the fight if they are truly that far superior to Chimaev.
“If you’re ranked in the top 5 and you’re worried about being derailed by a guy who’s ranked in the top 15…” White began in an interview with BT Sport. “Realistically, if you look at it, Khamzat bursted onto the scene, and the guy has 1.1 million followers overnight. There’s a lot of tough guys that Edwards could fight that don’t have the same excitement value as fighting a guy like Khamzat. And Khamzat’s either real or he’s not. We’re gonna find out. You know how you find out? You face a guy like Leon Edwards.”
Dana White’s explanation makes sense for fans from an entertainment standpoint and also for the entire world to see once and for all if Chimaev is really worth the hype; but additionally, White believes this fight makes just as much if not more sense for Leon Edwards than anyone else.
“I think it raises him,” White said regarding what this fight does for Leon Edwards. “I think Edwards comes out with a win over Khamzat, it takes him to a whole other level. And when you talk about the bad things that have happened to him this year, all the things that he’s overcome, this is one of the most high profile fights he could get. This is the perfect fight for him.”
To be sure, Leon Edwards has had a rough go of it in 2020, with two fight cancellations, a positive COVID test, and going the entire year flightless. So Dana White believes that a high-profile fight is just what the doctor ordered to help cure what has ailed “Rocky” Leon Edwards.
Do you agree with Dana White’s argument for why Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev was the fight to make for all parties?
This article first appeared on MMANews.com on December 17, 2020