Like many in the MMA world, Belal Muhammad has had an issue with Colby Covington since October 28, 2017.
On that date, Covington decided it would be a wise career move to insult an entire country after he defeated a man from that country — Demian Maia — in that country.
After his unanimous decision win over Maia on a UFC Fight Night card in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Covington shouted into the microphone UFC commentator Daniel Cormier was holding, “Brazil, you’re a dump! All you filthy animals suck!”
A few weeks after that, Muhammad defeated Tim Means via split decision at a Fight Night event in Sydney, Australia. After his win, Muhammad told UFC commentator Dan Hardy, “There’s a little coward I saw earlier this week by the name of Colby Covington out here talking trash about other people’s countries. I don’t like that, man. I’m from Chicago, dude. We’re both 170 (pounds). Meet me in the cage. Because if I see you on the street, you’re going to the ICU.”
Muhammad has gone 7-1 (1 no contest) since that win over Means. He is coming off a December 18 unanimous decision win over former two-time UFC welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson. That win moved Muhammad to the No. 5 spot in the official UFC 170-pound rankings.
Since his win over Maia, Covington has a 3-2 record. His two losses are a TKO setback and a decision defeat to current UFC welterweight champ, Kamaru Usman. Despite falling short in his title bids, Covington is the No. 1 ranked fighter in the official promotional rankings.
Time has not lessened Muhammad’s disdain for Covington, nor has it decreased his desire to face him inside the octagon.
“That’s one I’ve literally been calling for, for years. Probably like five years,” Muhammad told MMA Fighting. “Even before he got into title contention, rankings, any of that. I’ve always wanted that fight. Just because he’s another guy that a lot of guys didn’t want to fight him because of his style. To me, I think my style is better than his. I think I’m a better version of him. I think I have better grappling, better cardio and way better striking than him.
“He gave Kamaru a lot of problems with that style. I think me fighting him, beating him dominantly, a guy that Dana White says would be the champion if Usman wasn’t here. I think would definitely put me over the top and a guy I would just like to punch in the face. Just out of pure hatred for the guy.”