Leon Edwards is ready to move on from his UFC Vegas 21 main event against Belal Muhammad. Despite the sour ending.
On Saturday’s post-fight show, Edwards stated that he had entered the fight “with the mentality of, I wanted to fight for the belt next.” And that mentality, it seems, has not changed. “So now I’m like, what’s next? What do I do now? Is it a rematch? Is it someone else? I feel I deserve a title shot.”
Edwards had put together eight straight wins in the UFC’s deep welterweight division prior to Saturday night’s contest with Muhammad. A fight that ended when an accidental eye poke left Muhammad unable to continue. Prior to the fight, Edwards had not competed in well over a year. 602 days, to be exact. Other names, from Jorge Masvidal to Colby Covington to Stephen Thompson, remain in the mix to challenge champ Kamaru Usman next. But ahead of Saturday’s showdown, UFC President Dana White had stated Edwards would get the next crack at gold — if he came out victorious.
He did not. But Edwards is ready to move on from Muhammad nonetheless. “I only fought him because all the other guys turned me down. The writing was on the wall. I was winning the fight clearly. And I don’t feel I need to fight him again. I need to move forward.”
Not surprisingly, the other half of the main event disagrees. In an interview with TMZ, Muhammad had a message for his opponent. “My message to him is, if you’re a man, take the rematch.”
Muhammad confirmed that his vision is starting to come back after suffering “a really badly scratched cornea” and damage to his eyelid. And he added that “That wasn’t a real win. That wasn’t really a fight. We literally had one round. If you’re a man, if you’re a real contender, if you think you’re a real champion, then you gotta beat everybody. You gotta beat me to earn the title shot.”
It’s up to the UFC matchmakers to decide from here.