Leon Edwards has a new opponent after Khamzat Chimaev was forced out of their scheduled fight on March 13.
Fresh off a dominant win over Dhiego Lima at UFC 258, Belal Muhammad has accepted a short-notice opportunity to face Edwards in the new five-round main event.
Multiple sources confirmed to MMA Fighting that agreements are in place from both fighters ahead of the March 13 event, which is expected to take place at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. ESPN initially reported the news. On Thursday afternoon, the UFC made the bout official.
With an 8-1 record over his past nine fights, including four consecutive victories, Muhammad has proven to be a tough out against anybody in the welterweight division.
During his current winning streak, Muhammad has dispatched Lima, Curtis Millender, Takashi Sato and Lyman Good while climbing into the top-15 rankings at 170 pounds.
Now he’ll get his biggest step up in competition as Muhammad faces off with Edwards, who is currently ranked No. 3 in the division by the UFC while riding an eight fight win streak.
Edwards wasn’t able to compete in 2020 largely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic coupled with his own battle with COVID-19 that knocked him out of a previously scheduled fight against Chimaev this past December. Chimaev then contracted COVID-19 and the lingering symptoms from his battle against the virus has prevented the highly touted prospect from returning to action.
With a win on March 13, Edwards looks to secure his place as a potential No. 1 contender in the division with his sights set on a rematch against reigning champion Kamaru Usman, the only fighter in the UFC to hold a win over him.