Count UFC welterweight contender Belal Muhammad among those who don’t want to see an immediate rematch between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman.
Muhammad wants to be able to challenge for the title of welterweight after going undefeated in nine previous fights. He urged Usman not to take the reins after Usman’s knockout defeat to Edwards at UFC 278..
” We’re not talking about numbers. “If you want to make this a real sport, there’s no rematches once you lose the Super Bowl. You lose the Super Bowl, you lost the Super Bowl, that’s it, you’re going to have to wait until next year. You don’t get a, ‘Ahh, man. That was a lucky pass.’
“Nah, you lost, you don’t get the rematch right away. You’ve got to go through a whole other season to try and get back there again. So, Usman, sit down a little bit, relax, heal up, [and] let me fight Leon Edwards.”
The UFC plans to have a rematch with Usman and Edwards in March, but no date or venue has been announced. Edwards had previously beaten Usman by decision. Usman was trying to defend his sixth title. Afterward, UFC President Dana White departed from his usual routine in welcoming a do-over.
Muhammad’s most recent win put him on the radar for a title shot. At UFC 280, he ended the unbeaten run of Sean Brady with a second-round stoppage. The performance earned him his third UFC performance bonus.
After an accidental eyepoke rendered Muhammad unable to continue in a March 2021 meeting with Edwards, the 34-year-old welterweight went back to the drawing board and picked up four straight wins, which arguably could be considered a season (or two) in MMA circles.
Not all MMA seasons are considered equal, however. Khamzat Chimiaev, an out-of-the box star, has walked a shorter road to the title. Muhammad also shares a manager with Usman in Ali Abdelaziz, so he potentially faces a business obstacle to the belt.
From a merit perspective, Muhammad feels his time has come.