Fourth-ranked UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad wants either a former champion or current titleholder for his next Octagon appearance.
Muhammad recently spoke to MMA Fighting about what matchup he wants next. He threw out three big names — fights that he hopes can either put a belt around his waist or make him the undeniable next challenger.
“If it’s going to be somebody, it’s going to be either [Kamaru] Usman, Colby [Covington], or Leon [Edwards],” he said. “It’s only fighting upwards from here. I think that’s the only way I’m going to be guaranteed anything.”
Muhammad has gone undefeated since 2019, attaining eight wins in recent years. He handed Sean Brady his first pro loss at UFC 280 last fall, stopping him late in the second round with strikes.
While “Remember The Name” wants some of welterweight’s top names, UFC has a different plan for him.
UFC President Dana White said last month at the UFC 286 press conference that he wants to pair Muhammad up with 17-fight undefeated talent Shavkat Rakhmonov.
This matchup came as a surprise to Muhammad when he was watching the press conference.
“I was like, what? Where did this come from? … I’m calling my manager, like, what’s going on? He’s like, ‘brother, I don’t know what’s going on.’”
Rakhmonov is currently ranked sixth at welterweight, two spots below Muhammad.
Belal Muhammad proposes title eliminator bout
Belal Muhammad also felt strongly about White’s plan to give Covington a title shot against Edwards next. He recalled being surprised when White outright stated at the presser that Covington was next in line for a title shot, especially since the UFC President is known for saying he doesn’t make fights the night of an event.
Edwards has also stated his disagreement with a fight against Covington, stating the matchup “makes no sense.”
Covington’s last fight was more than a year ago, when he went five rounds against Jorge Masvidal for a unanimous decision win. The fight put him back into the win column after losing a title bout to Usman in late 2021.
Muhammad told Edwards he should “stick to your guns” in turning down a match with Covington, allowing him to have a title eliminator matchup: “Don’t say yes to that fight. Let me fight Colby and the winner of that gets next.”
A fight between Muhammad and Edwards would be their second meeting — sort of. The duo clashed in the main event of a 2021 card, although an accidental eye poke to Muhammad in the second round forced their bout to end in a no contest.
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