Belal Muhammad open to middleweight move if title fight isn’t soon

Belal Muhammad will do whatever it takes to get to title contention.

By: Jack Wannan | 2 months ago
Belal Muhammad open to middleweight move if title fight isn’t soon
Belal Muhammad in his fight against Demian Maia. | Imago/Taidgh Barron

Belal Muhammad’s time in welterweight purgatory is clearly becoming frustrating for him.

The fourth-ranked UFC welterweight feels he is one fight away from a title shot, but worries that things won’t come together that quickly for him.

Muhammad made an appearance at the UFC 287 media room, where he talked about his future plans in the UFC. He mentioned that he hopes to be one win away from getting a title shot against current welterweight champion Leon Edwards.

During his media availability, ‘Remember the Name’ was posed with the hypothetical where not only is Edwards’ next opponent lined up, but the one after that as well. In this case, the idea of Colby Covington facing Edwards, then Jorge Masvidal meeting the winner of that was mentioned. Of course, this was before Masvidal lost to Gilbert Burns on Saturday night and subsequently retired from MMA.

“Don’t put that out into the universe right now man,” Belal Muhammad joked, in a video obtained by MMA Fighting. He then said that, if he has to wait that long, he might as well start challenging names up at middleweight.

“At that point, I’m just gonna go 185, honestly. I’m going to go look for Chimaev. He moved up, I can fight at 185, I’m not worried about it. I’ll move up, look for him, maybe he’ll finally come out, and play that game. I made it to the top in 170, 185 I’ll do the same thing.”

Muhammad has expressed interest in facing Chimaev before, albeit at welterweight, not middleweight.

Unfortunately for him, he might just find himself in the spot he most wants to avoid, with Dana White seemingly giving in to Gilbert Burns’ demand to be the backup fighter for Edwards vs. Covington, and to seemingly secure his spot as the next contender in the process. If that’s the case, a chance to compete for UFC gold may just be a long time coming.

Belal Muhammad is sick of ‘going backwards’

Belal Muhammad has been outspoken about his growing impatience to rise up the middleweight rankings. After Edwards defended his belt in a rematch against Kamaru Usman earlier this year, UFC President Dana White suggested that Muhammad should face undefeated talent Shavkat Rakhmonov next.

The 34-year-old Roufusport talent rejected that idea, however, as Rakhmonov is ranked lower than him currently. Instead, he wants his next fight to be against someone that could mark him as a definite next challenger.

“For me, that’s just going backwards again,” he said, talking about a potential fight against Rakhmonov. “I just went backwards to fight Sean Brady, another undefeated prospect who they thought was the next big thing. There was guys ahead of me that didn’t have fights. Right now, they say ‘Oh man, he just needs that big name that’s gonna give him that spot.’ I’m looking at Kamaru Usman.”

Belal Muhammad on longest streak in UFC career

Muhammad has gone undefeated since early 2019, having scored eight wins (and one no-contest) since a loss to Geoff Neal at UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw. His aforementioned victory over Brady came at UFC 280 last October when he put him away in the second round with punches.

He also earned his first UFC main event victory last year, going five rounds against Vicente Luque to land a judges decision.

Muhammad’s current unbeaten streak is his longest since joining the UFC back in 2016. He strung together four straight from 2017 to 2018 as well, although that run was put to bed a year later against Neal.

Share this story

About the author
Jack Wannan
Jack Wannan

Jack Wannan is a reporter for Bloody Elbow. He joined the site in 2023 after previously writing for and Knockdown News. He is currently in the process of earning a bachelor's degree in journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University.

More from the author

Recent Stories