Middleweight contender Fabian Edwards may have extended his win streak with a hard-earned unanimous decision win at Bellator 287, but the Birmingham native was far from happy with his performance in Milan.

Edwards defeated Ireland’s Charlie Ward over three rounds in the co-main event at the Allianz Cloud Arena to improve his record to 11-2, but said he wasn’t impressed with how he performed on the night.

Speaking after his win, Edwards was asked to rate his performance out of 10, and replied, “I’d give it like a five. What would you give it? It was alright.

“Like I said, the thing that Charlie had was that he was tough and was gritty. There’s not a lot of guys in the division that would have ate that head kick and kept their wits about them. So, fair play to Charlie. He gave me a good test tonight and I appreciate that test.”

The head kick Edwards referred to came in the first round, and looked good enough to cause some serious problems. But, despite being on wobbly legs for a moment, Ward rallied well, and took advantage of an Edwards slip to take the fight to the mat and allow him to clear the cobwebs without taking further punishment.

It was the first wrestling exchange of a bout that produced a number of takedowns and exchanges on the mat. While the wrestling may have been effective for Edwards over the three rounds, the Englishman said he doubted whether his performance was sufficient to warrant a title shot at new middleweight champ Johnny Eblen.

“It wasn’t enough in my opinion, but we’ll see what they say,” Edwards said.

“I’m here. My brother says ‘Let’s keep on racking up the wins and they can’t deny you.’

“Not every single performance can be an elbow to a ground and pound finish or a flying knee or an upkick. Sometimes you have to go in there and do what you have to do to secure the win and I learned that tonight.”

If it isn’t to be Eblen next, other possibilities could come from the Netherlands. Former champion Gegard Mousasi strongly hinted on the BBC Sport broadcast that he could be next for Edwards, while Mousasi’s teammate Costello van Steenis, who returned from a two-year hiatus to claim a second-round submission victory earlier on the fight card in Italy.

“The Spaniard” also handed Edwards with his first career loss back in 2020, Edwards admitted he could be a viable option as his next opponent.

“Anybody who’s ever beat me in anything, of course I’d like to get it back. That’s even a fight I did ask for,” he said.

“But we’ll see what Bellator wants to make. I’d love to entertain that fight again.”