Leon Edwards dismisses ‘nuisance’ Belal Muhammad ahead of UFC 304: ‘He’s too easy to hit’

Leon Edwards is ready to get past Belal Muhammad and onto the rest of his welterweight title reign.

Edwards defends his title against Muhammad in the main event of UFC 304 on July 27 at the Co-op Live arena in Manchester. The fight is a long time in the making, with Muhammad relentlessly attacking Edwards through the media, calling for his title shot. Now that’s it’s finally here, Edwards is just as excited, because he can finally move on to other business.

“One hundred percent, the guy has been a nuisance on social media for the longest,” Edwards said Monday on The MMA Hour when asked about his excitement for UFC 304. “So 100 percent. I’ve been trying to fight Belal now for a while. I got asked for [UFC] 300, I said yes to everyone. Three opponents, said yes. I even said, ‘What about Belal?’ And they were like, ‘No. [Laughs.]’ It wasn’t an option.

“I was like, I’ll fight whoever, because I know the card is such a huge card. It would have been great for my career. So I would fight whoever there is. And after [Islam Makhachev, Shavkat Rakhmonov, and Khamzat Chimaev] said no, I was like, ‘What about Belal?’ They didn’t entertain it. So it is what it is.”

Edwards and Muhammad have some history as the two fought each other three years ago at a Fight Night event in London. That bout ended in unfortunate circumstances when an eye poke from Edwards rendered Muhammad unable to continue, leading to a no-contest. Muhammad lobbied for an immediate rematch, but instead Edwards went on his title run, claiming the belt and defending it twice. Meanwhile, Muhammad has won five in a row at welterweight and has relentlessly called for his rematch, guaranteeing his own victory and trashing Edwards at every turn. But Edwards doesn’t see it.

“When has Belal ever did that to anybody?” Edwards said, laughing at Muhammad’s trash talk. “He’s just talking. I’ll let him talk and let him make his little memes and his little tweets, but everyone knows he ain’t on my level. That’s just the facts of it. He has improved. So have I. There’s levels to the game and I truly believe I’m levels above him. Come July, I’ll show that.”

And he intends to do so in spectacular fashion. If there’s been a knock on Edwards during his UFC career, it’s the lack of finishes. Edwards only has four finishes of his 14 UFC victories, but “Rocky” intends to up that number come July.

“I need a finish. I feel like anything short of a finish is no good enough,” Edwards said. “All this shit this guy talked on social media, the f*cking Tweets, the t-shirts, he deserves it. He deserves an ass-whooping. I feel like he’s going to get his ass whooped. I’ve never lost a fight in the U.K. I’ve never lost on home turf. I bring that confidence with me, I bring the confidence of being a champion with me, and he’s just too easy to hit. He can improve all he wants, he’s too easy to hit. His head is right there. He’s just there and he’s going to get hit and get hit a lot. I want to take him out.”

Once that’s done, it’s on to new business.

Still only 32 years old, the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to the MMA Fighting Global Rankings says he is just getting started.

“I feel like I get Belal out of the way — all the wrestling phase is kind of going,” Edwards said. “It was [Kamaru] Usman, then it was Colby [Covington], then it was him. … The rest of it is strikers, which is lovely. Get these wrestlers out the way and just crack on with my career. I feel like I have a lot more to do. I truly feel I haven’t done nothing yet and there’s so much more I want to accomplish and do in this sport. I’m focused and driven and I cannot wait to accomplish it.”

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