Leon Edwards’ coach predicts Belal Muhammad as next opponent at UFC 304 in Machester: “There’s a big Muslim contingency”

Alex Pereira versus Jamahal Hill was not the first option the UFC had in mind to headline UFC 300 as they offered Leon Edwards three different opponents who all rejected the fight which made the promotion go with Pereira versus Hill. UFC CEO Dana White praised the mentality of Edwards as he made no reservations when they offered Islam Makhachev, Khamzat Chimaev, and Shavkat Rakhmonov.

Tom Aspinall recently revealed that he would fight at UFC 304 in Manchester, England but did not reveal the opponent. As the only undisputed champion from England, it makes sense the UFC would headline UFC 304 with Leon Edwards. Dave Lovell, the head coach of Edwards recently revealed who would be the likely opponent for Edwards in what could potentially be his third defense of the welterweight title.

“There’s a big Muslim contingency in England, in Manchester, so I think it will be Belal (Muhammad). It’s not written in stone, but I’d say 99.9% I think it’ll be Belal,” said Lovell in an interview with Kweku Afari of talkSPORT.

Lovell has quite a fan following in the MMA community, particularly due to the motivation he provided to Edwards after which the fighter scored a comeback KO victory over Kamaru Usman in a massive upset at UFC 278.

Nonetheless, Edwards would have a tough stylistic matchup against Belal Muhammad even though the former was getting the better of the latter when they first fought which ended in No Contest due to an accidental eye poke. Moreover, Muhammad has already revealed that he would train with Khabib Nurmagomedov to prepare for Edwards.

Nevertheless, the matchup against Muhammad would be far easier than the potential fights against the fighters who rejected him – Islam Makhachev, Shavkat Rakmonov, and Khamzat Chimaev.

Dave Lovell on matchup with Makhachev, Rakhmonov, Chimaev

Leon Edwards was offered three opponents from three weight classes to headlined UFC 300 but all of them were Muslim and had to observe Ramadan and rejected the fight. Islam Makhachev, the lightweight champion is the pound-for-pound king and lightweight champion. Rakhmonov and Chimaev are undefeated with a penchant for finishing fights easily.

Nevertheless, Dave Lovell, the head coach of Leon Edwards does not think that the three fighters pose a big threat to Edwards. Lovell explained in detail why he thinks so in his recent interview with Kweku Afari.

“Can Khamzat make (welterweight)? questionable. He’s been exposed in certain ways on his stamina levels. Islam (Makhachev) coming up in weight, don’t know if he can handle that,” Lovell said of Makhachev and Chimaev.

“And you’ve got Shavkat (Rakhmonov), who is a danger, but again, he slightly got exposed in his last couple of fights. He thinks he can just walk through people,” Lovell said of Rakhmonov, who he thinks would not be able to walk through the dangerous striking of Leon Edwards.

Jack Della Maddalena called out Shavkat Rakhmonov after his victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 299 to which the latter has responded. If victorious against Muhammad, Edwards would likely face the winner of Maddalena vs Rakhmonov, later this year.

Do you think Belal Muhammad is next for Leon Edwards? Leave your thoughts below!


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