Just three months ago, Belal Muhammad and Leon Edwards headlined UFC Vegas 21 at the UFC Apex. After a promising first round, the fight was stopped in the second round due to a gruesome accidental eye-poke from the Brit. The eye poke left Belal Muhammad in serious discomfort, and the match was declared a no-contest.
After his first UFC headliner was cut short, Belal Muhammad expressed his frustration and had some strong words for Leon Edwards. The thirty-two-year-old was adamant he would get to run the fight back with Edwards. However, Edwards had other ideas and played down the shouts for a potential rematch. It was a match-up that didn’t make much sense for “Rocky”, who was looking to challenge for the welterweight strap.
Belal Muhammad had some comments to make on Edwards regarding the bout “not making sense”. He told MMA Fighting, “To me, the immediate rematch made the most sense in the world”. Muhammad continued to vow that he lost the opportunity due to a foul that wasn’t his fault.
Despite Belal Muhammad not getting his wish, the two welterweights will feature on Saturday nights UFC 263 card in Glendale, Arizona. Leon Edwards will welcome fan-favorite Nate Diaz, while Belal Muhammad will meet UFC veteran and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sensation Demian Maia.
Belal Muhammad on Leon Edwards
“Just being a man, I would expect him to be like, alright, this narrative wasn’t supposed to be run like this, but I’ll give you the fight back.”
“I’m not cool with it,” Muhammad told MMA Fighting. “Honestly, I really wanted the Leon fight, and I feel like I earned it just by stepping up. You’ve seen guys do that like Tony Ferguson against Justin Gaethje, and it affected them terribly. It’s not easy to do something like that. So to be doing that, I feel like I deserved it, but this is the next biggest name that I like. I’m glad the UFC gave it to me.”
After the bout between Muhammad and Edwards was declared a no-contest, Edwards indicated that his performance in the first round done enough to enlighten fans how the fight would have played out if it had gone the distance, and yes, you guessed right, Muhammad bit back.
“I’m looking at this guy like he’s a moron,” Muhammad said. “If that makes sense, then Masvidal beating the crap out of you in the backroom, there’s no reason for you to do the fight because he already hit you with a three-piece and a soda. Your logic doesn’t make sense.”
“Honestly, it doesn’t make any sense to me, even for me,” Muhammad said. “Me watching it and being a fan and understanding the game, I understand why Leon wouldn’t accept the fight. It’s going to help him build his fan base. But from the UFC, I would expect more if it’s not me, give him somebody higher-ranked than me because there are other guys in the division willing to fight.”
Belal Muhammad on His Upcoming Matchup Against Demian Maia
Putting his frustration to the side, Muhammad is relishing the opportunity to share the octagon with one of the sport’s greats. Unlike Leon Edwards, Muhammad had some kind words to say about the Brazilian ahead of their clash.
“Demian Maia’s one of those fights I’ve always wanted,” he said. “I called for that fight as I was calling for Leon. He’s one of the legends of the sport, one I’ve always watched and studied. I always want to test myself against the best guys, and the last few guys that beat him all fought for the title. He has big-name value, and he’s one of those guys where he’s a great test for the champion. If I can get through Demian, that’s going to be a good test to fight Kamaru Usman.”
Belal Muhammad is looking at the positives of his current situation and the task at hand. He regards Demain Maia as one of, if not best, grapplers on the UFC roster, and if he can hang with Maia on the mat, that will send a message to the division where he’s at.
How do you view the current situation between Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad? Can we expect to see the two highly-skilled welterweights clash in the future, or is the saga over for now?
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images