Belal Muhammad is undeniably one of the most deserving fighters to be considered the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division based on all possible metrics. He currently holds a remarkable nine-fight unbeaten streak and has secured victories over his last four opponents, all of whom were ranked fighters.
The most notable of these victories was Muhammad’s recent knockout of highly-touted prospect Sean Brady. Furthermore, Muhammad only trails reigning UFC champion Leon Edwards’s win streak in the division. For all his achievements, it’s a surprise that Muhammad has not been in contention for a title shot.
Even after Leon Edwards won his trilogy bout with former champion Kamaru Usman in March, Muhammad was not considered for a title shot. Instead, the opportunity was given to Colby Covington. Muhammad, who at No. 6 in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, was understandably irate.
After lodging several public complaints, Muhammad opted to focus on his career and let his resume do the talking. It’s worth noting that Muhammad was quick to call out other fighters like Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns, and Colby Covington.
In a recent conversation with MMA Fighting, Muhammad refused to address Colby Covington despite the latter’s alleged refusals to fight Muhammad on multiple occasions. Muhammad is focusing on his career and letting go of his anger and frustration about Covington receiving the next title shot.
Muhammad’s attention is entirely on his career, which is the only thing he can control. He hopes to be remembered as a legend in the sport and compete against the best fighters in the division. He’s taking the toughest possible road to the top and knows he has to claw his way there. Muhammad doesn’t anticipate that the UFC will hand him golden opportunities. He knows that he must seize his chance to take it to the top.
It’s worth noting that a pair of top 10 ranked fighters, such as Muhammad and Burns, don’t usually compete in a short notice fight like UFC 288. Many fighters would pass on this opportunity because of the risk that a loss could mean they wouldn’t compete for a UFC title in the near future.
However, Muhammad is taking a different approach and is determined to prove that he deserves to be the top-ranked welterweight fighter. He requested five rounds to work and was granted his wish. Muhammad is confident that he’s the best all-around fighter in the welterweight division and wants to prove himself again in the fight.