Leon Edwards has a lot to lose accepting a fight against an unranked fighter, but the No. 3-ranked welterweight doesn’t see it that way.
Edwards will take on undefeated welterweight and middleweight prospect Khamzat Chimaev in the UFC VEGAS 17 main event next month but ‘Rocky’ says the Russian-Swedish fighter is just another hype job and believes a win over ‘Borz’ guarantees him a title shot.
“I believe he’s over-hyped,” Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC), who is on an eight-fight win streak, said of Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in a recent interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani (h/t Essentially Sports). “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.”
“When I go out there and beat him next, I believe I’ll get a title shot,” he added.
Edwards did, in fact, score an eight-second KO when he met Seth Baczynski in his second fight under the UFC banner at UFC Fight Night: Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop II in 2015. Similarly Chimaev, 26, wowed fans at UFC Vegas 11 with his 17-second knockout of Gerald Meerschaert.
UFC VEGAS 17: Edwards vs. Chimaev takes place next month, Dec. 19 at the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.