Leon Edwards responds to criticisms from Chael Sonnen: I can’t “put on a MAGA hat and pretend”

Leon Edwards

UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards has responded to a recent criticism from former fighter turned MMA analyst Chael Sonnen.

Edwards currently holds the No. 3 spot in the UFC welterweight rankings, and is riding an impressive, eight-fight win-streak. Despite his station in the division, he’s struggled to land himself a big fight, and Sonnen believes that’s because he’s not making himself “interesting” outside the cage.

“Leon Edwards does everything right except make himself interesting,” Sonnen said on a recent episode of ESPN’s Ariel & The Bad Guy. “There’s another guy in the same weight class that does the same thing. His name is Neil Magny. The only time in a matchmakers’ meeting that these guys names are even brought up is when Sean Shelby is flipping through the contracts and says ‘oh we owe this guy a fight, who should we put him with?’

“You want to have a title fight or a big fight, the first thing you have to be is interesting,” Sonnen added. “Both of those guys are great fighters, but they don’t bring any interest to the table. Leon Edwards coming out and calling for a fight that anybody that has the sense knows he isn’t going to get not only wastes a media opportunity, but it makes him look like he doesn’t have power in this sport. The worst thing you can be in this sport is powerless. The absolute worse thing you can do is call for a shot, in front of SportsCenter, and not get it.”

Speaking on the latest episode of Submission Radio, Edwards responded to this criticism from Sonnen, explaining that he’s not going to put on an act to get what he deserves.

“It’s never about the skills, right? It’s always about [that] I need to basically be a clown,” Edwards said. “It’s not me. I can’t like put on a MAGA hat and pretend. I know what he’s saying, [that] I need to do more for promotion-wise, cause it’s the entertainment business at the end of the day. So, I do understand where he’s coming from. But that was Chael. He talks his way into big opportunities back in the day, fought Anderson Silva and things like that. So, it is what it is. Like he said, I didn’t take much from it. I hear what he said and it is what it is.”

While Edwards has struggled to land a high-profile fight, he says he’s been in frequent contact with the UFC, and he’s optimistic he’ll get what he deserves—without putting on an act to make himself more “interesting.”

“I’ve been on the UFC every day since March to try and get a fight booked in and trying to get one of the name guys that claim that they’re the best,” Edwards said. “I’ve proven my case, I’m on an eight-fight win-streak now. [That’s the] the second most now [behind the] current champion [Kamaru Usman]. So, I feel I deserve one of these top five guys, if not a big name in the sport.”

What do you think will be next for Leon Edwards?