UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad thinks that Leon Edwards should not ask for a title shot after the official ruling their fight a No contest at UFC Vegas 21.
Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UC) accidentally poked Muhammad (18-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in the eye in the second round of their welterweight headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, spoiling a potential shining moment for the Brit in a big spot. “Rocky” appeared to be en route to a big win that would potentially lock up a title shot at 170 pounds, but now the next step is murky for him.
After over a year and a half away from the Octagon due to a terrible combination of pickiness, COVID-19, and bad luck, Leon Edwards returned at UFC Vegas 21 to fight Belal Muhammad. That fight lasted all of 5 minutes and 18 seconds before an eye poke (Edwards’ second of the fight) sent Muhammad to the canvas screaming in agony. The official ruling: No contest.
“I wish Belal nothing but a full recovery, obviously,” Edwards said at the post-fight press conference. “It was an accident. I didn’t mean it. So … I wish him nothing but a full recovery.”
“I don’t feel I need to fight him again,” he said later. “I only fought him because all the other guys turned me down. The writing was on the wall. I was winning the fight. And I don’t feel I need to fight him again. I need to move forward. I’m on an eight-fight win streak. That’s the third-most in the promotion’s history. It’s me, Usman, and GSP. I feel like I’ve earned my way for a big fight.”
UFC president Dana White had said Leon Edwards would earn a title shot off a spectacular win, but this doesn’t feel like it fits in to get a title shot right after poking someone.
Belal Muhammad on Leon Edward’s title shot demand
Muhammad saw Edwards’ post-fight comments and he’s not happy about them. Taking to his social media, Muhammad blasted Edwards for being “soft” by asking for a title shot coming off of a No Contest, and Muhammad said he wants the rematch with “Rocky.”
Never saw someone act so tough after poking someone in the eye the fight was just getting goin and if your satisfied to end it on that note your soft you ain’t getting a title fight off that I took the fight on 3 week notice and came to fight run it back @ufc
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) March 14, 2021
Never saw someone act so tough after poking someone in the eye the fight was just getting going and if your satisfied to end it on that note your soft you ain’t getting a title fight off that I took the fight on 3-week notice and came to fight run it back @ufc
Edwards did look extremely impressive in the first round, though. And given the way the Muhammad fight came together as a desperation booking to finally get Leon in the cage, we suppose we could see the UFC putting in a different opponent if poor Belal is going to be out a while waiting for his eye to recover.
A name thrown out by the press as an option for Edwards was Colby Covington, who happens to be one of the two fighters above Edwards in the welterweight rankings.
“That’s there, I can do it. But I belong in a title shot,” Edwards replied. “I’ve worked my way back up from last getting defeated by Kamaru Usman. I have fought everybody. I have offered to fight everybody. I feel I deserve a title shot now. Why should I go another 10 fights to get a title shot? I believe I deserve a title shot next.”
In a UFC welterweight division that will likely see champion Kamaru Usman fight Jorge Masvidal next, Edwards will likely need to take another fight in the meantime, so a title shot seems unlikely regardless of what the result was in the Muhammad fight. But the fact the fight ended in a No Contest via eye poke makes it hard to give Edwards a title shot based on this particular fight.
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