Belal Muhammad is reaching a point of undeniability within the Welterweight ranks of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
At UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, “Remember the Name” left a lasting impression, finishing the previously undefeated Sean Brady via second round technical knockout (watch highlights) with strikes against the cage. The win added to the great momentum Muhammad has gained, going unbeaten in his last nine appearances in the Octagon (8-0, 1 no contest).
Unfortunately for the Chicago, Illinois native, Muhammad still fills stuck in a no-man’s land of sorts behind fellow top contenders, Colby Covington and Khamzat Chimaev. At the same time, all atop the division will need to wait for the result of the inevitable Leon Edwards versus Kamaru Usman trilogy coming in early 2023.
Prior to the Brady finish, Muhammad felt he was deserving of being next for a title shot, obviously, until Edwards sent shockwaves through the sport with his head kick knockout upset (watch highlights). Should Muhammad not get a crack at gold next or his desired Chimaev match up, he’s fine with making some believed easy money against some of Welterweight’s biggest names.
“[Jorge] Masvidal’s definitely going to need another fight after that [Covington] lawsuit,” Muhammad told MMA Mania. “If Masvidal wants to fight, too, we’ll fight him. Or even Conor McGregor. He’s walking around at 200 pounds now. Any one of those big money fights, I’m down with, or definitely a No. 1 contender fight.
“[Masvidal is] a win-win for me,” he continued. “For him it’s like, if you’re really thinking you can be a champion, you want to fight the top guys as well. If you’re looking at who’s available and what’s next, I know he’s been asking for the Gilbert Burns fight, but Gilbert’s coming off a loss. I’m coming off a huge win, I think that my fight makes more sense if you want to get back into title contention.”
Muhammad has reached a statistical and mathematic point to where he doesn’t see any other top contender as a viable option for the winner of the impending trilogy title tilt. Particularly in the case of Edwards coming out on top again, Muhammad has a history with “Rocky” as their March 2021 encounter ended via accidental eye poke (watch highlights).
“I don’t know what else I have to do,” Muhammad said of earning a title shot. “I feel like when you’re looking at the division, you’re looking at all the guys that are fighting, I’m the only guy in the division with four ranked wins and there’s nobody else that’s willing to do that besides Kamaru Usman and he was a champion. He was the only one fighting ranked guys because he was the champion. None of these other guys are fighting ranked guys that are winning. Colby Covington hasn’t beat a guy that’s on a winning streak in forever, in how long? Chimaev beat Gilbert Burns, but then you miss weight by nine pounds and Gilbert Burns is his only ranked win — Gilbert Burns coming off a loss.
“There’s nobody out here that’s beating ranked guys and fighting all the best guys in front of them,” he added. “I went backwards with this one, I fought a guy who was undefeated 15-0 when I didn’t have to. I just beat the No. 5-ranked guy in the world and I went backwards to fight him. So, I hope I get rewarded by the UFC. I think it makes sense for me.”
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