Belal Muhammad is not a happy camper.
The streaking welterweight saw his first UFC main event end in disaster last weekend when a brutal eye poke, at the
hand fingers of Leon Edwards ended their bout in a no contest.
Since then Muhammad has been adamant in his desire to ‘run it back’. However, Edwards is not so keen. The Brit, who had been sidelined since July 2019, claimed he showed enough in the first round of the fight to prove he’s a class above Muhammad and that he deserves to fight for the title (something Dana White said he was certain to get with an impressive showing).
Muhammad spoke with MMA Fighting recently about the end of his fight with Edwards and what has happened since.
“Honestly, literally I thought I was blind,” he said, regarding the initial injury. “I was moving my eye around, when you’re trying to move your eye around, and I literally couldn’t see nothing but black. I closed my other eye just hoping I could see something, and I couldn’t see absolutely nothing.
“It was more so from there, I knew the fight was going to be over, and that’s honestly what broke my heart the most, because that’s what you work your whole career for that moment, my life literally could have changed with that fight. I could have beat him and we could be fighting for a title next. That was a life-changing moment for me and my family, and a lot of things could have changed, but it was all snatched away with a freaking eye poke.”
However stung Muhammad was by the eye poke, that pain seems to pale in comparison to how insulted he feels now that Edwards seemingly has no interest in a rematch.
“I was seeing red – I was pissed,” Muhammad admitted. “Honestly, that’s what pissed me off the most. Cause he was looking past it, not worried about it. At that moment, he felt bad, but then he looked past [me]. I could have been sitting there in the hospital blind, my career could have been over, and he wasn’t even thinking about it. But he’s doing a press tour like he freaking won the fight – ‘I’m back, I need the title fight.’ That’s the thing, he thinks he’s owed all of this stuff, and that’s why I feel people do not like him.
“Like I said, he’s the one who literally committed the foul. He’s the one who was warned. He’s the one who messed up. Man-to-man, out of respect if you’re a freaking real fighter, you would be like, ‘I messed up, let me own up to it, I’ll give you your rematch.’”
Muhammad added that he believes the UFC’s promise to give Edwards’ a title shot, should he beat him, still stands. “This fight literally makes the most sense. We literally had a fight, it was unfinished business.”
“I’m fuming,” continued Muhammad. “I didn’t get an ending to the fight. I have a bad taste in my mouth because there was no result in the fight. Now, I feel like I didn’t fight and I need to fight. I need that energy. I need that fight again.”
If Edwards vs. Muhammad 2 does happen, you can expect the match-up to feature a lot more heat than it did the first time around. Muhammad has signalled that the annoyance he feels over this whole situation is something he wants to bring to the cage.
“I had no ill will against him before then, but I do now,” Muhammad said. “Just his whole attitude and the way he’s acting. I’m a hard guy to get mad, but he irritated me and he’s pissing me off with just the way he’s acting and the way he’s like, ‘I won the first round, so we knew how the fight’s going to go.’
“There’s five rounds in a fight, you moron. I literally pick up as the fight goes on, so the fact that he’s talking like that, that’s what’s pissing me off the most.”
Whether this fight gets re-booked relies on a lot more than Muhammad’s eagerness. That being said, ‘Remember the name’ is doing his darnedest to entice ‘Rocky’ back into the cage with him. With MMA Fighting Muhammad tried the tactic of questioning Edward’s integrity as a fighter.
“Man-to-man, if you’re happy with that result, then you shouldn’t call yourself a fighter,” Muhammad said. “You shouldn’t call yourself a contender. You shouldn’t call yourself a champion. Man-to-man, if you’re happy with that result, honestly you should just hang up your gloves.
“No real fighter, no true fighter would want a fight to end like that. No true fighter would let that happen. You committed the foul. You owe me the rematch. Let’s do it.”
Prior to being taken down by an errant finger to the cornea, Muhammad had won four fights in a row. In February he took apart Dhiego Lima for a unanimous decision victory. Before that he bested Lyman Good, Takashi Sato and Curtis Millender. His record currently stands at 18-3 1 NC.