Dana White had some words for critics who believe Leon Edwards ‘cheated’ to win the UFC welterweight title.
White praised Edwards for his comeback performance at UFC 278 in August. ‘Rocky’ pulled off a last-minute head kick to finish Kamaru Usman and claim UFC gold for the first time. Former UFC title contender Chael Sonnen believes Edwards relied on fence grabs to avoid Usman’s wrestling throughout the fight.
“Leon was frustrated in positions and had no way out of positions to the extent that he cheated repeatedly, not once, not an accident, not the ref didn’t see it… the ref broke the act five or six times,” Sonnen said on YouTube.
Sonnen is convinced that Edwards’ ‘cheating’ tactics led to an unfair final round for Usman.
“Now you’re in the fifth round that you never should have been in potentially. You take a kick in a fight that you were trying to finish and you had the position you needed to get said finish and the opponent cheated three times.”
Dana White Disagrees with Chael Sonnen
After the Contender Series, the long-time UFC president spoke with the media and shared his thoughts on Sonnen’s remarks. He believes Edwards’ fifth round head kick was the main factor in the fight.
“He became champion with a head kick, he didn’t win by grabbing the fence. I mean he got absolutely dominated in that whole fight except for that couple minutes in the first round,” White said.
“That’s completely unfair of Chael Sonnen to say. That kid [Edwards] 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’s silly, ridiculous and absolutely unfair to say about Leon.”
With his win, Edwards became the second British fighter to claim UFC gold– six years after Michael Bisping won the UFC middleweight title.
White expects to book the trilogy fight between Edwards and Usman in the near future and hinted at Wembley Stadium as a potential destination. Edwards will be looking to quiet the doubters in a probable third fight on home soil.