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Belal Muhammad is itching for another go at Leon Edwards.

Three years ago, the two 170-pound contenders (who both currently hold the longest unbeaten streaks in the division) met in the cage in Las Vegas in a bout to further identify the next challenger to then-champ Kamaru Usman’s crown. However, following a first-round dominated by the Briton, Muhammad succumbed to an accidental eye-poke early in the second round — and ever since, has been angling for another opportunity at Edwards, who has since gone on to claim the undisputed welterweight championship.

But Muhammad, who has not tasted defeat since a February 2019 loss to Geoff Neal, is firmly of the opinion that his time has come for a shot at the title — and apparently blames Edwards for the hold-up.

“I hate his guts,” Muhammad said speaking recently to MiddleEasy. “The last fighter that I fought that I had dislike for was Sean Brady, and that was just because he was talking all this trash, and one of those things where I’m like ‘Bro, I don’t even know you but you’re acting like you’re something else’.

“With the Leon fight, they’re trying to avoid me. Him trying to downplay my accomplishments and telling me I don’t deserve it, I never earned it. That does nothing but piss me off.”

One suspects that Muhammad has a point when it comes to his own credentials for a title bout. In his current 10-fight unbeaten streak (which includes the no-contest against Edwards) he has wracked off wins against the likes of Gilbert Burns, Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia.

But he has one added motivation.

“It’s fueling me with hatred for this guy and I just can’t wait to get in there and get my hands on him,” he said.

“My last four, five fights, have been against guys that were so nice. Demian Maia, Wonderboy, Luque, they’re all nice guys. Obviously, getting extra motivation to fight guys that you dislike, it’s easier to wake up every day. For Leon Edwards, I’ve been training for this guy for two years. My prime focus has been on him, I haven’t been thinking about anyone but him. When I go in there and walk through him, he’s going to go back to irrelevancy and no one’s going to think about him anymore.”