Leon Edwards was “broken” by Kamaru Usman heading into the fifth round of their UFC 278 title fight, which took place last weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah.
That’s according to former UFC lightweight Din Thomas, who was providing additional commentary for the UFC 278 broadcast in “The Beehive State.” Thomas has nearly 40 professional fights to his credit and more than 20 years of coaching under his belt.
“If it wasn’t obvious enough, Leon is broken now,” Thomas said during the fight. “And the biggest tell that you can always know this is because he doesn’t give his coach eye contact in the corner. When you don’t give him eye contact, you’re ashamed, and he’s embarrassed right now of his own performance.”
Despite a strong first frame, Edwards gave back the next three rounds and was on his way to a unanimous decision loss, ending any chance of capturing the welterweight title for himself and his adoring fans back in England.
Even his own coach was starting to panic.
“He lost the second round, he lost the third round, and that’s when the panic started to set for me,” Dave Lovell told MMA Junkie. “I knew I had to do something. His body language – he wouldn’t look me in the eye. He was slumping in his chair. He looked dejected. I was like, ‘This is not you, son. What is wrong?’ I don’t know what it was, call it Godly intervention, but I had to shake this kid out of his slump. We’re in a world title fight, and you’re fucking looking sorry for yourself. You didn’t come this far, all this work put in over the last six, seven years, to come to this country, and you’re going to bow out like a lamb? You’re content seeing this fight out without giving it your all? So I knew I had to do something, and it just rolled out that way.”
Lovell called for a head kick — the same one they drilled in practice — and Edwards delivered, flattening Usman and claiming the 170-pound title. But in the moments following the shocking outcome, Thomas was heavily criticized on Twitter for his “broken” comments.
Here’s a sample:
Someone fire Din Thomas. That novice said Leon Edwards was broken. LMAO. Novice.
Din Thomas owes Leon Edwards a HUGE apology.
He’s probably not as petty a person as I am, but I would have all kinds of shit to say about Din Thomas this morning if I were Leon Edwards.
Leon Edwards, I followed and we all believed. FUCK DIN THOMAS.
“It’s easy to go back and go, ‘Look, he was wrong,’” Thomas told MMA Fighting. “We also live in a culture where idiots try to be smarter than everybody else. So, obviously they’re like, ‘Oh, that didn’t age well, blah blah blah,’ but in the moment when he came back to his corner? … He had a first round against Kamaru Usman that no one has had. No one has ever had a dominating round like that against Usman. Then what does Usman do? Usman smiles back to the corner and goes, ‘OK, we’ve got a fight here,’ then comes back and wins the next two rounds convincingly, and easily. The fact that Leon had that first round, then gets beat the next few rounds — and it progressively gets worse — he’s getting frustrated, he’s like, ‘Oh man, I thought I was in this fight; now I’m no longer in this fight.’ That’s probably what’s running through his mind.”
The comments from Lovell support that analysis.
“I’m saying this based on me being in that situation before, in terms of as a fighter, me being a coach for the last 25 years and dealing with fighters for the last 25 years, this is the type of mindset that they have,” Thomas continued. “They start to break. Going into that last round, as soon as [the fourth] was over, the first thing Leon did was put his arms up and his head down. Now, when you’re proud, do you put your head down? No. When you’re ashamed, you put your head down, because you don’t want to face what’s in front of you.”
Thomas is currently “accepting apologies” on his Twitter account.