UFC welterweight contender Belal Muhammad says that he has more than earned a shot a Leon Edwards’ world title.
The two rivals originally met in the cage in March 2021 but after a dominant first round for Edwards, the bout was called off just 18 seconds into the second frame after Muhammad — who took the fight on short notice — was unable to continue after receiving an accidental eye-poke from the now-champion.
The result of the fight, a no-contest, is the only blemish on both mens extended unbeaten streaks dating back several years but despite Muhammad having just one loss on his record since the beginning of 2017, Edwards has intimated that he doesn’t “feel like Belal should be next” after his conclusive win against Colby Covington in Las Vegas last weekend.
And for Muhammad, this smacks of hypocrisy.
“Honestly, that’s what pisses me off the most about him,” Muhammad said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “That’s what’s making me dislike him the most. Not even the fact that we fought, and he’s the one who committed the foul. He’s the one who eye-poked me. I’m the one who took the fight on three weeks’ notice, so he could have a fight. You’re the one who committed that act. I don’t really care about that anymore. Now, we’re looking at just stats.”
Muhammad added: “I’m on a 10-fight unbeaten streak. You were on a nine-fight unbeaten streak when you were waiting for your title shot and everybody brushing you off. You know how it feels to get brushed off like that.”
Since the no-contest with Edwards, Muhammad has defeated well-regarded opposition like Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson and Gilbert Burns — and he thinks this list of defeated opponents more than rivals the unbeaten streak that eventually secured Edwards his title shot against then-champ Kamaru Usman.
“When you were on that streak, you were beating RDA, you were beating Donald Cerrone, you were beating Gunnar Nelson – guys that were not in the top 5,” Muhammad said.
“I have four top 5 wins. I have wins over some of the best fighters in the world. Demian Maia, one of the best grapplers in the world. Wonderboy, one of the best strikers in the world. Luque, one of the best finishers. Sean Brady, that win just doubled in effect, now that he just dominated Kelvin Gastelum. I’m dominating top guys that were on winning streaks, and you’re acting like it’s not nothing.”
And should UFC matchmakers hear his plea, Muhammad says that he is willing to go anywhere for his opportunity.
“I’m perfectly fine wherever it is,” he said. “If it’s in a backyard, if it’s anywhere, I just want my shot. I want my moment.”