Belal Muhammad last competed against Edwards in March, and the fight ended with Edwards poking the eye of Muhammad so bad that “Remember The Name” could no longer continue. After the No-Contest result, Muhammad has been healing up and will make his return at UFC 263 on June 12 against grappling legend Demian Maia.
However, the welterweight believes that Edwards opted to take an easier fight in Nate Diaz. Understandably, the Englishman will receive far more exposure facing a cult figure like Nate Diaz, despite the circumstances, it seems that Belal Muhammad has a clear understanding of the 170lbs landscape.
“It’s understandable,” Muhammad told MMAmania.com. “To me, I’m a way harder fight than Nate Diaz, but obviously, Nate Diaz has one of the biggest names in the game. I feel like even for the UFC, where the UFC probably wanted to book that one, you’re looking for a next opponent for Kamaru [Usman]. There isn’t really anyone with huge name value. Leon deserves it, but he has no followers, he’s not very active on social media…
“For Leon Edwards, people are probably like, ‘Who is this guy?’ Fighters know he is on a nine-fight winning streak but fans don’t know because he has no personality. He’s bland when he talks.
“I’m sitting there rooting for Nate Diaz because if Leon loses, I’m going to be calling him out right away,” he continued. “Especially because we’re on the same card. If he loses, I think it’s a fight that makes sense if I come off this fight healthy and beating Demian Maia,” he added. “I’ve always wanted that Vicente Luque fight back, but definitely if Leon loses I want that one for sure. Other than that, I come out of this one and I want Luque.”
If Belal Muhammad wants another crack at Leon Edwards, he will first have to get through one of the most technical jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world. However, it seems Muhammad is already targeting another possible opponent in Vicente Luque should he not get the desired Edwards fight after UFC 263.
With a lot of moving parts, it will be interesting to see how the welterweight landscape develops after these two pivotal fights kickstart the division’s movement.
Do you think Belal Muhammad will get through Demian Maia at UFC 263?