Leon Edwards’ Coach Wants Gilbert Burns Next, Belal Muhammad Reacts

Belal Muhammad seems like the most logical opponent for Leon Edwards’ next title defense. However, the champ’s coach, Dave Lovell, would rather see Gilbert Burns in the ring.

Edwards recently defended his title in a dominant decision win against Colby Covington at UFC 296. Many believe Muhammad, who hasn’t lost in his recent outings, deserved the shot over Covington. The latter hadn’t fought since March 2022.

Muhammad was the backup fighter for UFC 296. Yet, Dana White, the CEO of Ultimate Fighting Championship, wasn’t clear about Muhammad receiving the next welterweight title shot during his post-fight comments.

Interestingly, Lovell wants Edwards to face Burns, who Muhammad defeated via an emphatic decision in May. Lovell knows it’s unlikely, but he believes “Durinho” presents a more marketable fight than Muhammad. The latter has often been criticized for being a decision fighter.

“Dana didn’t announce that it would be Belal so we’re just as bewildered as you. If it’s Belal, so be it. We’ve had a feel of him already. We know what he’s about. He has improved. If it’s Belal, it’s Belal,” Lovell said.

He added, “But you never know with these people. Shavkat [Rakhmonov], he had the foot injury so I don’t think he’d be ready for April, maybe not. Belal would be ready to go, but will Belal and Leon really be a big pay-per-view? You’ve got to look at it from the business point of view.”

Lovell admitted that Belal had earned his place. Still, he would prefer Burns over Belal because he thinks Burns brings more to the table.

Responding to Lovell’s comments, Muhammad wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter): “So, this is how Leon learns his ducking technique.” He also reminded White of his promise, tweeting: “Leon’s opinion doesn’t matter.. his coach doesn’t matter ..the only person I care about is Dana and he gave me his word.. that’s all that matters … we’re next and the fact that they’re showing fear only gives me more confidence ..you should be afraid.”

Both Edwards and Muhammad’s long win streaks are only marred by their initial outing ending in a no-contest after an accidental eye poke from “Rocky” back in 2021. Meanwhile, Burns has just been booked against Jack Della Maddalena for UFC 299 on March 9.

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