Leon Edwards pulled off the impossible at UFC 278, but his last-minute knockout victory against Kamaru Usman wasn’t without controversy.
Former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger turned MMA analyst and podcast host Chael Sonnen would like to remind us that ‘Rocky’ grabbed the fence several times throughout the fight and had to be warned and separated by referee Herb Dean.
Although no points were officially deducted, Sonnen branded Edwards a cheater, highlighting that the Brit unfairly used the cage to his advantage against an opponent on track to winning the fight before the head kick.
“There’s a lot more in Leon versus Usman and nobody spoke of it,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel (h/t MMA News). “Kamaru is apparently too much of a gentleman to, in conjunction with it appears Kamaru is going to get the rematch so there is no need for it. But Leon cheated in that match a whole bunch of times. That is not a headline or a topic that is out there anywhere, I do not want to be the one to bring that to you.
“I’m a guy that operates in the gray, I’m not giving him a hard time…for the story to be told accurately, nobody’s wanting to touch that. 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…”
“So now you’re in a fifth round that you never should’ve been in potentially, you take a kick in a fight that you were winning, that you were trying to finish, and you had the position you needed to get said finish and the opponent cheated three times…Leon learned a lot in this fight. When Leon goes to prepare for Kamaru again, he’s going to have some confidence…it’s a strong word to say cheated, but what other word do you want to use?”
Edwards knocked out Usman to become the second British fighter to win a UFC title after Michael Bisping, with the win catapulting him to No. 6 in the official UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.