UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards is ready to shock the world by derailing the hype train of Khamzat Chimaev.
Leon Edwards has every intention of showing that the hype around Khamzat Chimaev isn’t warranted when they meet in the UFC Fight Night headliner on Dec. 19. Edwards is seemingly taking a big risk in putting his eight-fight winning streak on the line against the highly touted but unranked Chimaev.
Leon with eight wins in a row, the No. 3 ranked welterweight in the UFC should already be knocking on the door of title contention. But the coronavirus pandemic has largely wrecked his plans for 2020. Because options were limited, Edwards ultimately took the fight against Chimaev, who is currently 3-0 in the UFC with three impressive finished across two different weight classes. While Chimaev may not have a number next to his name, Edwards understands the kind of hype that’s surrounded him since first arriving in the UFC, which is what made the fight so appealing to him.
Leon Edwards talks about the Chimaev fight
“Outside a title shot, I believe he’s the biggest fight,” Edwards told MMA Fighting on Wednesday. “Obviously, [Jorge] Masvidal would have been good as well, but he turned the fight down. This is the biggest fight to guarantee me what’s next.
“That was my thinking going into this. The UFC loves him. Dana [White] loves him. They all think he can’t be beat. When I go out there and take him out, I can’t see what they can say next to give me my title shot. I’d be on a nine-fight win streak. I believe this was the fight to make and now here we are.”
How the matchup between Leon Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) and Khamzat Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) came to fruition was rather unusual. Edwards originally didn’t express interest in facing Chimaev, but his options narrowed. The UFC then removed Edwards from its official rankings, citing inactivity, but less than 24 hours later the promotion announced the Chimaev fight was set.
All that drama failed to strike a nerve with Edwards. He said he was always privy to what was happening behind the scenes and ultimately left with no negative feelings about the process.
“I’m going in there happy with my position, happy with where I’m at,” Edwards said. “Obviously I would’ve preferred a title shot, but outside of that, this is the next best option in the division. I feel, after this, I’ll be granted a title shot, so I’m good” Leon said.
Speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Leon Edwards sized up his upcoming opponent.
Rocky isn't buying the hype because he's been there before.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 11, 2020
“I believe he’s over-hyped. It’s hard to judge him. The competition he’s faced is pretty low. So I don’t know, it’s hard to judge him. I’ve been 9-0 in my career. I once had an eight-second knockout in the UFC. I’ve done everything he’s done, you know what I mean? It’s hard to judge him. The UFC is just trying to hype him.”
Khamzat has not beaten ranked contenders, however, he is easily destroying the fighter he has faced. It is the ultimate test for the rising fighter to take on someone like “Rocky” Edwards. If he wins, he is catapulted into another level.
What do you guys think will be the outcome of this fight?
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