Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) had an opportunity to book Belal Muhammad against Leon Edwards for “Rocky’s” welterweight title, giving both fighters a chance to settle their unfinished business after the Eye Poke of Doom torpedoed their UFC Vegas 21 main event back in early 2021.
Instead, the promotion opted to give Colby Covington his third title fight in three years, despite coming up short in his first two attempts. It was a decision that did not sit well with UFC fans, who wanted Dana White and Co. to “Remember the Name” when it came to the next 170-pound title shot.
“That was the cool thing about the whole situation,” Muhammad told “The Schaub Show” (transcribed by Farah Hannoun). “Them giving the shot to Colby, I think it, like, worked out better for me because that’s when the fans started being like, ‘All right, well, bro, that doesn’t make any sense at all. This guy’s on an eight-fight winning streak. He has history with Leon. What else does he need to do?’ Even the haters, I was getting so many messages, like, ‘I hate you, but you deserve the title fight.’”
While Edwards and Covington collide at an upcoming event to be named, Muhammad will return for a short-notice fight opposite fellow Top 5 contender Gilbert Burns as part of the UFC 288 pay-per-view (PPV) card on May 6 in Newark. And it doesn’t sound like Muhammad is too concerned about losing his place in line.
“I think that matchup, stylistic-wise, like I fought the best grappler in the division with Demian Maia, I fought the best striker in the division with ‘Wonderboy,’ I fought the guy who knocked me out and his training partner in Luque, and I beat Luque and I fought the new up-and-coming hot star, strongest guy in the division in Sean Brady,” Muhammad said. “I fought every single style, and I don’t think Gilbert’s fought anybody like me. And this being a short-notice fight, there’s not a lot of strategy that comes in it from his side. It’s like, ‘Well, I’m gonna do this because I’m good at it,’ but I’m better at what you’re good at.”
For more on Muhammad vs. Burns at UFC 288 click here.