Dana White defends Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev booking

Dana White, UFC 251, Conor McGregor, Jorge Masvidal
Screenshot via MMA Junkie

UFC President Dana White has explained why the promotion booked a controversial welterweight fight between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev.

Chimaev was one of the breakout stars for the UFC in 2020, rattling off a trio of wins over John Philips, Rhys McKee and Gerald Meerschaert in the span of just a few months. While those wins were impressive, however, he’s yet to beat a ranked opponent at either middleweight or welterweight.

Despite his wins coming against unranked opposition, Chimaev has been matched up with Leon Edwards, who holds the No. 3 spot in the UFC welterweight rankings. Given the pair’s starkly different positions in the MMA landscape, many fans are not fond of this booking.

White, however, believes it makes sense.

“If you’re ranked in the top 5 and you’re worried about being derailed by a guy who’s ranked in the top 15…” White said in an interview with BT Sport (via MMA News). “Realistically, if you look at it, Khamzat bursted onto the scene, and the guy has 1.1 million followers overnight. There’s a lot of tough guys that Edwards could fight that don’t have the same excitement value as fighting a guy like Khamzat. And Khamzat’s either real or he’s not. We’re gonna find out. You know how you find out? You face a guy like Leon Edwards.”

While some members of the MMA community have stated this matchup is a lose-lose situation for Edwards, White sees significant upside for the top welterweight contender.

“I think it raises him,” White said of a potential Edwards win. “I think Edwards comes out with a win over Khamzat, it takes him to a whole other level. And when you talk about the bad things that have happened to him this year, all the things that he’s overcome, this is one of the most high profile fights he could get. This is the perfect fight for him.”

What are your thoughts on the upcoming Khamzat Chimaev vs. Leon Edwards fight? Do you agree with Dana White?

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM