Belal Muhammad captured a unanimous decision victory over fellow welterweight contender Gilbert Burns in the UFC 288 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event last weekend in Newark, securing the next shot at the 170-pound title.
Just as soon as Leon Edwards and Colby Covington finish their championship business.
But Muhammad nearly found himself yanked from the short-notice fight after rolling his ankle in training camp. “Remember the Name” was hoping everyone at his gym would remember the bro code, but it appears he was ratted out.
“You go into the fights all the time with injuries, and I’m sitting there like, where the heck, I was looking at who’s the rat in my camp,” Muhammad told ESPN. “When you rush things right away, I’m trying to go balls to the wall in two weeks, injuries happen. Stuff happens, but I was like, once it gets to fight night, I had to push through it because I know that once the adrenaline starts pumping, you’re not really going to feel anything anyway and it was like for me to take a fight on two weeks’ notice and then try to pull out the week of, I was like bro that would give me the worst look ever. I was like, there’s no way I’m gonna let that happen. We got through it.”
Muhammad (23-3, 1 NC) has now won five straight fights and nine of his last 10 to secure the No. 3 spot at 170 pounds. Along the way, the 34 year-old Chicagoan defeated four fighters currently ranked in the division Top 10 (see the updated rankings here).
Sadly, filthy rats and training camp spies are part of the fight game.
The promotion has yet to announce a date for the “nonsensical” Edwards vs. Covington title fight and Muhammad could find himself benched for the remainder of the year, unless he elects to risk his place in the welterweight line and fight another ranked opponent.