Belal Muhammad adamantly believes he, NOT Colby Covington, is the fighter most deserving of a title shot vs. Leon Edwards … and the UFC star says he’s willing to prove it in The Octagon!
“I would love to punch Colby in the face. I would love to go out there, let’s do it. You think you’re the best in the world? You think you’re the number one contender, come and get it from me. I’m the rightful number one contender, who the world thinks is the number one contender,” 34-year-old Belal told TMZ Sports.
Of course, Dana White wasted no time tapping 35-year-old Covington, the #2-ranked welterweight, as Edwards’ next opponent during his post-UFC 286 media session, saying “[Colby] deserves the fight.”
The revelation was met almost immediately with outrage from Covington’s critics, who point out he’s just 2-2 over his last four fights, including two losses to Kamaru.
Meanwhile, Muhammad, ranked fourth in the division, hasn’t lost since facing Geoff Neal in January 2019. Throwing out a no contest against a pre-champion Edwards after an inadvertent eye poke, Belal’s riding an eight-fight win streak.
During the run, BM beat Demian Maia, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, Vicente Luque, and then-undefeated rising star, Sean Brady, who Muhammad handed his first pro loss.
FYI, Usman is the #1 ranked WW, but obviously isn’t getting an immediate rematch. After Colby comes Khamzat Chimaev, the #3 ranked WW. Then Belal. The rankings then go … Gilbert Burns at five, and Shavkat Rakhmonov at six (more on him in a moment).
Belal believes the work he’s done in the cage should warrant him the opportunity to fight for the championship.
“Bro, I don’t think there’s nobody that doesn’t think that I actually deserve, like if they truly look in their hearts, and if they have an IQ, they’ll know that I’m the true number one contender. I’m the true guy that’s earned it.”
Muhammad continued … “I put the work in. I put the time in. I fought every single person they put in front of me. I fought backward my last one when I didn’t want to, and they forced me to, and I still beat this undefeated kid [Brady], and it was by finish. To get a finish like that, I figured it was 100% gonna happen.”
Then, it came as no surprise when we asked Belal about Shavkat’s impressive win over Geoff Neal at UFC 285 … and while he was very complimentary of the Kazakh fighter, he made it clear he’s not looking to fight a guy below him in the rankings.
“Why am I gonna have to fight downward again to fight another hot prospect? It really doesn’t make any sense. Why am I the only guy fighting backward when there’s guys ahead of me that aren’t fighting at all?”