UFC bullied Leon Edwards into accepting Khamzat Chimaev fight and it could backfire
Today, Ariel Helwani of
The news comes just one day after Edwards was suddenly removed from the UFC rankings in what was obviously a strongarm play by the UFC to encourage him to take the fight against the currently unranked welterweight fighter.
For now, it seems that Edwards — who had essentially already earned a title shot — has been bullied into taking a fight with Chimaev, who has had just one fight in the welterweight division.
Matthew Wells starts expresses his confusion about the matchmaking. He says the UFC clearly backed Edwards into a corner by taking him out of the rankings. He hates that this fight is being made and says that we’re now closing out the year with a fight that makes no sense.
Ant Walker also agrees that this is “horrible, horrible matchmaking and shady business practices.” He says Edwards really should be fighting Usman for the title or at least another top contender. The decision to remove Edwards from the rankings is “disturbing,” especially since inactive fighters such as Conor McGregor still remain in the UFC rankings to this day.
And now, Edwards, who was supposed to fight Tyron Woodley in March before COVID-19 killed those plans, will go from almost facing a former champion to now fighting an unranked welterweight fighter.
Wells and Walker agree that the UFC’s decision may backfire.
Edwards isn’t the only one being screwed by the UFC. If Chimaev loses to Edwards in December, it’s likely that his hype will diminish and his remarkably smooth pathway to stardom has been interrupted prematurely. The UFC recognized Conor McGregor would be a major star for the promotion, yet it took six fights for him to eventually reach Jose Aldo. Why is the promotion opting for this different route?
The UFC is taking a huge gamble that could blow up in their face.
At the end of the day, Edwards was pressured into accepting a fight that is nowhere close to the best interests of his career.
What do you think about Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev? Let us know in the comments below.
Is it too soon for Chimaev? Or is he ready for Edwards right now?
Covering MMA and combat sports since 2015. Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.
I think STFU and fight. Sometimes they let the business aspect get too involved. In all fairness- both the fighters and UFC suits get caught up in it, but at the end of the day- you’re paid to fight and chose it as your career. Like everything else, you can do, or not do whatever you want, as long as you’re willing to pay the consequences. Leon Edwards doesn’t have to work for the UFC at all, and Khamazat’s been wanting to fight anybody and everybody. Now he got himself a fight. If he is worried about killing his hype- he shouldn’t have been so cocky. And if someone else is worried about the career ramifications if he loses- don’t. Khamzat and Edwards aren’t worried about your problems. They’re adults, let them fight. I’m watching it.
Look, the bottom line is that the UFC is not gong to become Boxing. Where you can Choose to not fight someone. Its a two way street.
Khazmat is electing to fight a guy who is one step from champion -a RISK that he honestly doesn’t have to take. He could take a lesser fighter, destroy him and grow the hype train.
Leon should look at this as an opportunity. He kayos Khazmat I guarantee you Dana will get him a title shot.
The bottom line is Dana is looking out for the UFC. Khazmat is the draw. BUT with that said, if you kick ass in the UFC, Dana is a fair person. He will reward your loyalty, and help and ability and get you in place for riches. no one cared about Leon Edwards…he beats Khazmat, they will.
Oh my prediction – Khazmat will SMESH.