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UFC 258: Dhiego Lima believes Belal Muhammad win puts him in top-15, aims for title shot in 2022

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Welterweight Dhiego Lima hopes to enter the rankings with a win over Belal Muhammad at UFC 258.

Brazilian welterweight Dhiego Lima hopes a win at UFC 258 can put him into the top 15 of his deep division. Paired up against Belal Muhammad for a preliminary bout on February 13, the 32-year-old hopes that a victory over ‘Remember the Name’ will be just the first step he will take towards a title shot next year.

In an interview with Combate, Lima says there is no chance he will not become ranked should he defeat Muhammad. The way Dhiego sees it, depending on how impressive his performance is, he could even go straight into the top 10.

“It’s guaranteed. If you beat a ranked guy, you take his spot. That’s what we’re after, the number 13. If we finish this guy, we could even go all the way to number 10. It’s a very important fight for me, especially because I haven’t fought in one year and two months and my first fight coming back is against a ranked fighter. There’s a lot at stake for me. I want to put on a show. Who knows, they might put me in the top 10 and in the top 5 by the end of the year. Then next year is the fight for the belt.”

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu brownbelt who has been working on his striking, Lima feels ready to take Muhammad anywhere in the Octagon. Knowing his opponent will look for the takedowns to grind out a win, Dhiego will try to frustrate Belal by not letting him play to his strengths.

“He fights to win, not to put on a show. He boxes, but when he sees an opening to take you down, he does it to win the rounds. He’s good everywhere, but he’s awesome anywhere. He’s very smart and has good cardio. He comes at you all the time. I think it’s a good fight for me, I’m bigger than him. I can stay at a distance and avoid his takedowns. I could take him down, too. It won’t be a crazy fight. It’ll be technique against technique. I can’t wait to show what I’ve been practicing.”

Currently on a three-fight winning streak, Dhiego Lima (15-7) defeated Chad Laprise, Court McGee and Luke Jumeau, most recently, in October 2019. Before that, the 32-year-old was on a three-fight losing skid, with losses to Yushin Okami, Jesse Taylor and Jason Jackson.

Now, Dhiego Lima is expected to take on Belal Muhammad at UFC 258, at the UFC Apex, on February 13, in Las Vegas. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a welterweight title fight between the champion, Kamaru Usman, and top contender Gilbert Burns.