Belal Muhammad is among the fighters who are vying for a chance to challenge Leon Edwards for the welterweight title. Edwards claimed the championship at UFC 278 in August 2022 when he knocked out long-reigning champion Kamaru Usman with a late head kick. In his recent title defense in London, he defeated “The Nigerian Nightmare” and strengthened his hold on the belt.
Since then, several fighters, including Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, and Muhammad, have all laid claim to the next title shot against Edwards. However, the decision to give Covington the opportunity has been met with criticism from fans, pundits, and fellow fighters, including Muhammad.
During a recent appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast with Jim Norton and Matt Serra, Muhammad shared his thoughts on the current state of the welterweight division’s title picture. He theorized that the promotion’s decision to give Covington the chance to fight Edwards was due to Edwards’ lack of star power.
Belal thinks that Edward is not made for the entertainment business
Muhammad pointed out that Edwards is not a big talker, trash talker, or media personality. He barely does any media, according to Muhammad. He believes that the promotion is trying hard to make Edwards a star by pairing him with Covington, who is known for his ability to sell fights. Muhammad added that Edwards just doesn’t know how to take that type of energy and go with it, as he is a quiet person who tries to let his fighting do the talking.
However, in the entertainment business, Muhammad stated that fighters need to know how to interact with fans and how to talk. He doesn’t believe Edwards has this ability.
“Leon’s not really a talker. He’s not a trash talker. He’s not a guy that’s big in the media. He barely does any media,” Muhammad said. “They know that Colby will try to sell the fight more than him, and maybe it’ll give Leon some type of superstardom. I think they’re trying hard to make him a star by giving him guys like Nate Diaz. They tried to do the Masvidal thing.
“He just doesn’t know how to take that type of energy and go with it, because he’s very quiet and just like, all to himself, and tries to do his talking with fighting. But it’s the entertainment business,” Muhammad continued. “You gotta know how to talk. You gotta know how to interact with fans. I just don’t think he does.”
While many consider Muhammad to be the most deserving contender for the welterweight title, he has no plans to wait for his chance. During the same interview, Muhammad emphasized that he won’t risk injuries or other variables that could affect his chances of a title opportunity by remaining inactive.
It appears that Muhammad’s return to the octagon could happen as soon as UFC 288. Both Muhammad and Gilbert Burns have expressed interest in filling the co-main event spot left open when Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush’s clash was postponed.