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Belal Muhammad happy to give ‘little bit of fear’ to ‘nervous and desperate’ Colby Covington title hopes

UFC 288: Muhammad v Burns Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Belal Muhammad is doing everything in his power to offset Colby Covington’s expected next title shot.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, is adamant that two-time Welterweight title challenger and former interim champion, Covington, is next for the undisputed titleholder, Leon Edwards. However, a match up between Edwards and Covington isn’t official yet, and Muhammad feels it’s starting to make “Chaos” sweat.

Since Edwards successfully defended his title against Kamaru Usman via majority decision in March 2023, Muhammad has extended his current unbeaten streak to 10 with a short-notice triumph over Gilbert Burns last month (April 8, 2023). Covington was critical of Muhammad’s unanimous decision victory, saying “Remember the Name” will have to fight again and will be unable to sit and wait for his now-promised title shot.

“I think Colby is nervous,” Muhammad told MMA Fighting. “He saw me win this fight, and he’s like, ‘Oh crap, maybe I’m losing my shot, maybe Dana White will change his mind,’ or something like that, especially if Leon wants to fight in Abu Dhabi.

“Now, he’s trying to pull strings like, ‘He has to fight again, he’s not a star.’ I’m like, bro, what did your pay-per-view against [Jorge] Masvidal do? The people you fought are the ones that raised the pay-per-view stock. You’re just a clown where people are like, maybe he’ll do something crazy when he headlines, and maybe [Donald] Trump comes to the fights, so let’s give him a title shot. There’s nothing special about him.

“But I think he sees that I just won this fight and the world sees I’m on a 10-fight winning streak, took a fight on three weeks’ notice, went out there, and beat the No. 5 [ranked] fighter in the world,” he continued. “[Colby’s] last win is against No. 12 in the world, and he couldn’t finish him and he almost got knocked out. So now he’s like, ‘Let me do 10 interviews in a row real quick and try to get some headlines.’ He’s getting a little bit desperate, and that’s what I like. I like that little fear in him.”

White’s rewarding of a title shot to Covington — who hasn’t fought since March 2022 and is 2-2 in his last four — had many within the community and division argue Muhammad had rightfully earned the next opportunity. Even the champion, Edwards, hasn’t been keen on facing “Chaos.” With UFC returning to “Fight Island” on Oct. 22, 2023, for UFC 294, the timing could align nicely for Muhammad and his strong Middle Eastern fanbase to at least make the boss reconsider what’s next atop the 170-pound division.

“Obviously, me going out there and taking that fight on short notice is also trying to get into the boss’s good graces, and show them that I can be the guy to step up whenever you guys need it at a moment’s notice,” Muhammad said. “I’m not all talk. I will be a champion. I will be an active champion. I won’t just be sitting back on my spot. Abu Dhabi, they’re probably telling the UFC, ‘Hey, we want this guy to be on the card, we want this guy to fight for the belt on the card,’ and money talks.

“The UFC [should think] Colby’s not worth the time, not worth the energy,” he concluded. “Imagine if he beats Leon, you have that clown with the belt. He’s going to be the worst champion you’ve ever had. He’ll sit out for two years doing nothing but his victory parade.”

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