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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Farah Hannoun

Daniel Cormier explains how UFC champ Leon Edwards fumbled opportunity to increase star power

Daniel Cormier believes UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards failed to capitalize on the big names he’s recently fought.

Edwards (22-3 MMA, 14-2 UFC) retained his title with a relatively easy decision win over Colby Covington at UFC 296 but lost Round 5 when he was taken down. Prior to that, Edwards scored back-to-back wins over Kamaru Usman – rallying to knock him out at UFC 278 then edging him out by majority decision at UFC 286. Judging by his performances against big names such as Covington, Usman, and Nate Diaz, Cormier explained how Edwards dropped the ball in those performances.

“I think it’s in these moments where you’re fighting these guys, and it’s not resounding where you go, ‘Oh, I just watched the best. He showed that there’s a river between them,'” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC.” So then people wouldn’t question it. But he should get more respect, and I believe that in time he will, but my worry now is he’s done away with the names. He’s done away with the names in the division.

“Unless people hold him in high regard right now, the Shavkat Rakhmonovs, the Belal Muhammads, those guys don’t have the name value of Usman, Covington, Diaz to really elevate him. So when you fight these guys, you have to take something from them. Their shine needs to become your shine if you want to become that guy that is the pay-per-view draw. So I think that what Leon’s going to have to do next is put the next person away and do it in a fashion that there are no more questions, that you know you have to watch a Leon Edwards fight.”

Edwards is now unbeaten in his past 13 fights, with the lone asterisk coming in a no contest vs. top contender Belal Muhammad in March 2021.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 296.

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