Leon Edwards’ coach expects Belal Muhammad next, says he ‘was looking for a way out’ in first fight

UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards’ coach, Dave Lovell, expects Belal Muhammad to be next.

Lovell confirmed that Edwards (21-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) was offered Shavkat Rakhmonov, Khamzat Chimaev, and lightweight champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 300, but not Muhammad.

Muhammad (23-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) cemented himself as No. 1 contender last May when he defeated Gilbert Burns at UFC 288, but he’s yet to get his long-awaited rematch with Edwards. However, Lovell thinks Muhammad will finally get his shot in the UFC 304 main event July 27 in Manchester, England.

“The lads that was put to him – Shavkat, Khamzat, and Islam, they was all fasting,” Lovell told talkSPORT MMA. “We was ready to go, you know, it is what it is, so because he wasn’t on the the 300 bill, no doubt, there’s a big Muslim contingency in England, in Manchester, so I think it will be Belal. It’s not written in stone, but 99.9 (percent) I think it will be Belal.”

Muhammad is on a 10-fight unbeaten run. The lone asterisk in his streak is a no contest against Edwards in March 2021, when Muhammad stepped in on short notice. The fight was ruled a no contest after Edwards accidentally poked Muhammad in the eye and rendered him unable to continue.

Muhammad’s eye was visibly damaged, but Lovell thinks he milked the injury.

“If the eye poke never happened, I believe Leon would have finished him in the second round the way the fight was going,” Lovell said. “To me, analyzing the fight, looking back at it, Belal was looking for a way out. He was looking to steal a decision because that eye poke, right? And the noise he made, literally crying and screaming, you’ve heard it for yourself. The world heard it.

“It’s funny that he didn’t have to go to the hospital. He didn’t have any eye damage. He didn’t have to go to the hospital to get his eye tested. What does that tell you? If the medics clear him after the fight and say you’re all right, what does that tell you? Tried to steal a decision, but payback is a b*tch. We’ll see.”

Muhammad fired back at Lovell for his comments.


remember this statement after round 4 and Leon is looking to you for your motivational speech after I’ve slapped him around for 20 minutes.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie