Thursday, May 6, 2021

Edwards Not Interested In Muhammad Rematch, Wants Title Shot Next

Leon Edwards feels that his next fight should be for the world championship and not a rematch against Belal Muhammad after UFC Vegas 21’s disqualification conclusion.

The controversy from UFC 259 certainly carried over into yesterday’s UFC Vegas 21 event. Eryk Anders turned in his best Petr Yan impression with an illegal knee of his own but unlike Yan was able to escape with a no-contest ruling as opposed to a disqualification. And in the night’s main event, Leon Edwards’ long-awaited return to competition was cut short by a fight-ending eye poke to opponent Belal Muhammad.

UFC Fight Night results, highlights: Leon Edwards' eye poke of Belal  Muhammad leads to no contest - CBSSports.com
Herb Dean Calls A Stop To The UFC Vegas 21 Main Event Following Eye Poke. Credit: Getty Images

Prior to the incident, Edwards was warned for this same foul after an earlier poke. Despite the warning from referee Herb Dean and the repeat, much more grievous offense that followed, Edwards agrees with the ruling of a no-contest as opposed to a disqualification.

“Not really. Not really,” Edwards responded at the UFC Vegas 21 post-fight press conference when asked if he should have been disqualified. “No, because when he warned me, I did put my fingers down. But as I was throwing a punch, he stepped in and closed the distance, and he got caught. It’s one of those things. But I wish Belal, obviously, a full recovery. I know it’s the fight game, but there’s a life after fighting, so I wish him good health and a full recovery.”

Leon Edwards Calls For Title Shot, Not Rematch

Leading into the events, Edwards had been campaigning hard for a world title shot, and his quest was backed by UFC President Dana White. White assured that Edwards would earn a title shot if he turned in a spectacular performance against Muhammad. Despite an impressive first-round from Edwards, he was unable to meet the “spectacular” prerequisite due to the disqualification. However, he believes that a title shot should be in the cards for him regardless.

“I believe a title shot should be next,” Edwards said. “ I’ve rebuilt myself back up since last competing against Usman…went on an eight-fight win streak. Tonight, it was going to be nine

“I was winning the fight clearly, so I believe I should be next at a title shot.”

Seeing as how Belal Muhammad is ranked #13 and not the reigning welterweight champion, where does that leave him in Leon Edwards’ future plans? Nowhere at all.

“No, I don’t feel I need to fight him again,” Edwards said. “I only fought him because all those other guys turned me down. 

“I was winning the fight clearly. And I don’t feel I need to fight him again. I need to move forward. I’m on an eight-fight winning streak. That’s the third most in promotion history. It’s me, Usman, and GSP. So I feel I earned my way for a big fight now, and we’ll see what’s next.”

Leon Edwards has not exactly had the best luck in determining his opponents over the past year, so his say in his next opponent may be minimal at best if that trend continues. 

What do you think should be next for Leon Edwards following his no-contest against Belal Muhammad to close out UFC Vegas 21?