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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Leon Edwards, Belal Muhammad after UFC Vegas 21?

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UFC Fight Night: Edwards v Muhammad Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Another action-packed night of fights has come and gone with UFC Vegas 21 going down last Sat. night (March 13, 2021) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Misha Cirkunov, who was knocked out in the very first round by Ryan Spann (see it here).

And Gavin Tucker, who had his night end with a single powerful punch courtesy of Dan Ige (replay). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

In this case there are two: Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad.

By now you know their Welterweight scrap ended in round two due to an inadvertent eye poke from “Rocky” that left Muhammad hurt and unable to continue in the fight (see it again here). As a result, the bout ended in a no contest (NC).

Afterward, Edwards was a good sport and very apologetic for the inadvertent blow. An hour later, though, he was ready to move on to a potential title fight and rematch against current champion, Kamaru Usman. The next day, it was revealed that Muhammad didn’t suffer a major injury, which means he likely won’t have to sit out too long and a do-over against Edwards is very justified.

While everyone had Edwards winning the first round, he didn’t win the fight, and let’s not forget Muhammad is an innocent victim here. Nothing against “Rocky,” he looked great in the first five minutes, especially after being out for 20 months. But at the end of the day both he and Muhammad lost out on an opportunity and running it back is the only play here.

Sure, Edwards is ranked higher at No. 3 while Muhammad is at No. 13, but over their last nine fights right up until their showdown, their records are almost identical with “Rocky” going 9-0 and “Remember The Name” earning an 8-1 mark. If we’re going by strength of schedule, Edwards has a slight advantage and prior to last Sat. night he would have gotten the nod over Muhammad, no question.

Still, it’s not Muhammad’s fault how everything unfolded.

Edwards campaigning to bypass a rematch isn’t the best look right now, especially since we know Muhammad didn’t suffer a major injury and a semi-quick turnaround is possible. Furthermore, he kind of owes it to Muhammad because let’s not forget, he was the only one willing to step in on short notice to give “Rocky” a fight when others turned it down.

On that note, should Muhammad require some time off to get healthy, then why not have Edwards challenge for the strap? He owns the longest win streak in the division other than Usman himself with nine straight, and his last loss came to “The Nigerian Nightmare” five years ago, which was early in both men’s careers.

The only contender other than Edwards in the Top 5 that is truly deserving would be Stephen Thompson, but he is on a two-fight win streak, so it would be hard to justify giving it to him over “Rocky.”

Thoughts?