Leon Edwards captured the welterweight title by planishing Kamaru Usman in the UFC 278 pay-per-view (PPV) main event earlier this month in Salt Lake City, a stunning, fifth-round head-kick finish that is among the candidates for “knockout of the year.”
But not everyone is standing and cheering.
That includes former middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen, who insists “Rocky” committed multiple violations throughout the championship contest. UFC President Dana White, however, believes those accusations are “completely unfair.”
“He became champion with a head kick,” White told reporters at the “Contender Series” press conference on Tuesday. “He didn’t win by grabbing the fence. I mean, he got absolutely dominated in that whole fight except for that couple of minutes in the first round. He got absolutely dominated, and you know, that’s completely unfair of Chael Sonnen to say that. That kid sucked it up, dug down deep and landed literally the perfect head kick with like a minute left in the fight. So I would say that that’s silly, ridiculous and absolutely unfair to say about Leon.”
Edwards, who improved to 20-3 (1 NC) with the victory over Usman, has not responded to the allegations by Sonnen. Interestingly enough, “Rocky” fans have been the ones crying foul on Instagram, accusing Usman of blatant glove grabbing, among other things.
Their early 2023 rubber match should settle this debate once and for all.
No word yet on what will happen with the rest of the division while Edwards and Usman finish their business. Khamzat Chimaev is expected to battle Nate Diaz at UFC 279 on Sept. 10 in Las Vegas and with a victory, could lay claim to the next shot at the 170-pound title.