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UFC 300: Snubbed by Dana White for Title Shot, Belal Muhammad Breaks Silence After Rumored Khamzat Chimaev Offer for Leon Edwards

Published 02/21/2024, 12:49 AM EST

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Belal Muhammad hasn’t given up on his welterweight title aspirations against champion Leon Edwards. Belal, currently ranked #2 in the division, has been on a 10-fight win streak and holds victories over notable names like Vicente Luque, Sean Brady, and Gilbert Burns. But while his resume makes him an undeniable contender for Edwards’ title, he has found himself on the ‘skip’ list for his opportunity to challenge the champion.

According to reports available online, UFC CEO Dana White had offered Edwards 3 names for a possible title defense at UFC 300. But while Khamzat Chimaev, despite having last fought at middleweight, found himself on the list, Belal’s name was surprisingly missing. As such, the welterweight star recently spoke out on the ongoing saga surrounding the incident.

Belal Muhammad wants the UFC and Leon Edwards to ‘Remember the Name’

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Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad have clashed once before in 2021. Unfortunately, the fight was declared a no-contest because of an accidental eye poke. This unlikely scenario left Belal unable to continue. And with his recent victory against Gilbert Burns at UFC 288 in 2023, many in the MMA community had speculated that the welterweight contender would be next in line for a title shot with his history against ‘Rocky’.

 

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However, during the search for the main event for UFC 300, according to reports available online, Leon Edwards was presented with 3 names, Islam Makhachev, Khamzat Chimaev, and Shavkat Rakhmonov, with Belal’s missing name coming as a shock to many in the community.

As such, in a recent statement on Instagram shared by TheSchmoZone, Belal stated, “Three guys turned it down. If they really wanted Leon Edwards on 300, they know the guy. It would have been me”.

During a discussion on TheSchmoZone podcast, it came to light that Belal had not been offered the title fight at all! Belal‘s statements shed more light on the situation, further fueling debate about the UFC’s decision-making process and the perceived lack of merit-based matchmaking in the promotion. 

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Despite the perceived ‘snub’ from the promotion, Belal Muhammad has found support from an unlikely ally in the welterweight division.

Irish welterweight star comes out in support of Muhammad vs Edwards for the title 

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UFC welterweight prospect, Ian Garry, has questioned the decision-making process behind the next title challenger in his division. While Garry aims for his shot at the championship, Belal Muhammad’s campaign for recognition has continued. Garry, currently ranked #6 in the welterweight division after his win against Geoff Neal at UFC 298, expressed his confusion and disappointment with the situation during an interview on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. He stated,” Leon is a phenomenal fighter. Belal is a phenomenal fighter. So let them go at each other and let them see who’s the best in the welterweight division at the moment…”

The Irishman stressed that the buildup for a fight between Belal and Edwards might not be the most hyped. However, it’s essential to prioritize the stylistic matchup and the skill level of the fighters. Garry’s statements reflect the broader sentiment within the MMA community, which increasingly questions the transparency and fairness of the UFC’s decision-making process. As we await clarity on the next title bout, the debate over meritocracy versus marketability continues to shape discussions.

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Do you think Belal Muhammad should be the next challenger for Leon Edwards’ title? Why or Why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Written by:

Dushyant Patni

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Dushyant Patni is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Dushyant brings 8 years of professional writing experience to his coverage of MMA at ES. This literature graduate excels in the coverage of both MMA-related and off-topic subjects.
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Edited by:

Amal Joyce