Belal Muhammad continues to work his way to the top of the welterweight division in the UFC and is calling out names that will lead him to a title shot. The No. 9 ranked fighter has a few options for his next fight, yet most of his interest is geared towards a former title challenger by the name of Colby Covington.
There are a number of reasons why Muhammad would like a fight against Covington, but the main one is fuelled by his confusion regarding the upcoming title shot ‘Chaos’ is expected to receive against current champion, Kamaru Usman. Muhammad wonders why Covington is getting that opportunity to begin with, when he has been pretty inactive.
“I still don’t understand why Colby is getting this title fight,” said Muhammad to John Morgan of MMA Junkie. “Yeah, it was a great fight, but you got your jaw broken and you’ve been sitting on the sidelines ever since that fight.
The fight Muhammad is speaking about is the title shot Covington received at UFC 245, where he was knocked out by the aforementioned Usman in emphatic fashion near the end of the fifth and final round. Covington was adamant that he should have gotten an immediate rematch because of how close the fight was before the knockout happened and instead sat out for months to try and get it.
Eventually, Covington came back and fought Tyron Woodley at UFC Vegas 11 last year. He returned to the win column with a fifth-round stoppage and resumed his calls for a title shot against Usman. The way Muhammad sees it, Covington needed to be more active like the champion and other contenders like himself to truly earn that shot.
“Usman has fought three times since that fight, and you’re just sitting out,” continued Muhammad. “It’s not like you’re a huge pay-per-view draw. It’s not like like if I’m Usman, I’m like, ‘Yeah, let me get that Colby fight, I’m gonna get 800,000 pay-per-views.’ The first one did 200,000 pay-per-views, so it’s not like you’re going to make a big payday with that, regardless.”
The other reason why Muhammad would like a fight against Covington is because of the matchup itself. He believes the clash of styles would make for a good fight anyway, especially since he was able to showcase his solid takedown defense recently in his unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia at UFC 263.
“I’ve been calling out Colby since I fought in Australia against Tim Means,” said Muhammad. “I’ve always wanted to fight Colby Covington. With this last fight showing that I can defend a takedown, it shows people that it will be a great matchup. It will be a fun matchup to see what happens if Colby can’t get the takedown, what is he going to do?”
If the fight against Covington does not materialize, then Muhammad is happy to revisit one against Leon Edwards, who he met earlier this year at UFC Vegas 21. That fight ended in a No Contest after an accidental eye poke from Edwards left Muhammad unable to continue, and the two have been trading barbs about it on social media ever since.
Still, Muhammad clearly has a preference for his next opponent and although Edwards is high on the list, Covington is just a bit higher.
“I want Colby more than anybody. The hatred I have for that guy is levels about Leon. Of course I want Leon back just because of the way that one ended, but Colby still a level above him.”