Leon Edwards’ coach explains why he prefers Gilbert Burns getting the next title shot instead of Belal Muhammad

By Cole Shelton - December 20, 2023

Dave Lovell the head coach of Leon Edwards is hoping Gilbert Burns will get the next welterweight title shot.

Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns

In the main event of UFC 296, Edwwards defended his welterweight title for the second time with a lopsided decision win over Colby Covington. After the fight, many expected that Belal Muhammad would get the next title shot, but at the post-fight press conference, Edwards shut that down, saying he didn’t think Muhammad deserved it.

Now, speaking on The MMA Hour, Dave Novell explained why he wants Gilbert Burns to get the next title shot against Leon Edwards.

“Well, we don’t know do we, Ariel? Dana didn’t announce it would be Belal, we are just (as uncertain) as you. If it’s Belal, so be it, we had a feel of him already, we know what he’s about. He has improved, but if it’s Belal it’s Belal. But, you never know with these people. Shavkat, he had the foot injury so I don’t think he’d be ready for April, maybe? Belal would be ready to go, but would Leon and Belal really be a big pay-per-view? You have to look at it from the business point of view, from the UFC’s point of view,” Lovell said on The MMA Hour about Leon Edwards’ next opponent.

According to Dave Novell, he believes Leon Edwards vs. Gilbert Burns is a much bigger fight, which would entice the UFC. However, he knows Belal Muhammad is likely the number one contender at welterweight.

But, if Novell had his choice, he says he would make Leon Edwards vs. Gilbert Burns as he thinks it’s a bigger fight on paper.

“Preference, Belal deserved his place even though he still hasn’t done what Leon did, he didn’t go through the tribulations Leon did,” Lovell said about Leon Edwards’ next fight. “But, you know what, he’s earned himself his contendership. To be honest, if I really had a choice, but I don’t think it will happen, I would like Leon to fight Burns…

“If I had a choice of who would be next, I’d prefer Burns over Belal because I think Burns brings more to the table than Belal. He had the No Contest against Belal, it looked like you can’t judge it by the first round totally, but it looked like Leon had the first round locked down with Belal and was going in for the kill in the second before the eye poke occurred. If I had a choice, I would like Burns but we will take whoever they throw at us,” Lovell concluded.

Gilbert Burns is coming off a decision loss to Belal Muhammad in May in a fight he got hurt in. But, even with that, Novell thinks that fight against Leon Edwards is intriguing.


Belal Muhammad Gilbert Burns Leon Edwards UFC