Titan FC 38: "Carl vs. Muhammad" comes to Miccosukee Casino in Miami, Fla., tomorrow night (Sat., April 30, 2016), with the main card streaming live to UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. ET.
The two fighters appearing in main event have an interesting histories outside Titan FC. Steve Carl was formerly the WSOF Welterweight champion, a title he lost to Rousimar Palhares before joining The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 21. Belal Muhammad has fought twice for Bellator, most recently on the Bellator 112 card in Hammond, Ind., scoring a unanimous decision win over A.J. Matthews, one of six decisions in his undefeated (8-0) streak thus far.
Since jumping to Titan, the career path for Muhammad has continued much the same -- leading him to a shot at the promotion's inaugural Welterweight title. His nickname is "Remember the Name." And with a chance to be remembered in a main event on Fight Pass, he may just go for a big finish.
Muhammad recently spoke with MMAmania.com about his big opportunity at Titan FC 38 and his preparation for Saturday.
"It's going good, man. I'm getting good training in, the weight's coming off fine, everything's on point (and) I'm ready for the fight. I'm usually walking around at 190, 185ish. I don't like to cut that much weight -- I don't like to drain myself at the end. I like to train the whole time and stay light the whole time."
Before getting into the particulars of his fight with Carl, Muhammad explained the reason for not staying with Bellator, where his record could have put him in its Welterweight title picture.
"They actually offered me a contract when I was still with them, but that's when they were still under their old management, and that was when I was like 4-0. At that point I was like, 'Yeahhh ... UFC's the biggest thing out there so all I want to do is wait for UFC.' I didn't want to sign anything long-term with Bellator just because a lot of people were complaining about it. Right now they're doing a lot of great things so if they called now, who knows?"
After his win at Bellator 112 Muhammad was 5-0. Scott Coker came in as the Bellator President just three months later. Eddie Alvarez was one of the men complaining, but Coker cut him loose to sign with UFC.
That was too late to change Muhammad's mind at the time, but his mind right now is focused on the spotlight of UFC Fight Pass. Coincidentally, he sees an upcoming Alvarez on Fight Pass as a sign it's a big platform on which to shine.
"They just put that Eddie Alvarez vs. Rafael dos Anjos (fight) on there. That means they've got enough subscribers where they'll take a chance and put a Lightweight title fight on there. I think it's a really big deal that we're on Fight Pass just because it's going to bring a lot more people from all over the world watching it."
Even with that big of a spotlight focused on fighting Carl, Muhammad says he'll take it like it's just another fight.
"I'm comfortable with it now. I'm just like kind of used to the attention and stuff like that so I'm just ready for the fight. I've got a big name opponent in front of me, so hopefully I finish it."
Muhammad's view is that Carl will be a tough and durable opponent, but not one who is by any means unbeatable.
"He's a good fighter (but) I think he's more of a gritty fighter. Like he's not going out there with like the biggest best athlete type thing where he's going to do any jump spinning kicks or anything like that. He's just a guy who's gonna get in your face and not take a step back. He's gonna try to grind it out."
It may come as a shock to some readers to think Muhammad thinks he can stop Carl with his hands given he only has two finishes in eight fights, but Muhammad believes in the power of his punch.
"The guys that I faced (before) had really good records -- they probably had like a handful of losses all together. I'm going in there looking for finish. I'm not gonna stop moving forward or anything like that but I'm not going to sit there and force it. When it comes it comes. I'm not going to go in there and leave myself open trying to get a knockout. I'm just going to keep moving forward (and) keep putting my hands on him. My fights aren't boring."
The natural question for Muhammad is if his exciting aggressive style got him his unique "Remember the Name" nickname. It turns out an announcer's confusion created it by accident.
"One of my first amateur fights the announcer came up to me and asked me what my nickname was, and I didn't want to give him anything weird or anything like 'The Bulldozer' or something stupid like that. He mispronounced my name at first, so then I told him, 'Yeah you're gonna be remembering it after this fight' so then he said, 'Oh right yeah I'll remember the name.' And I said, 'Yeah keep remembering the name ... that is my nickname.'"
You may "Remember the Name," too, after Titan FC 38 airs tomorrow night on UFC Fight Pass.
Complete audio of our interview is below and check here for more MMA news and coverage from MMAmania.com.