Belal Muhammad is getting mixed signals from Colby Covington on a potential fight.
On the verge of his first UFC championship opportunity, Muhammad says the promotion offered him Covington as his next opponent. According to ‘Remember the Name,’ he accepted, and so did ‘Chaos,’ but then something changed. Covington declined, and Muhammad has yet to hear anything else from the UFC.
“All they presented was Colby,” said Muhammad in a recent interview with Helen Yee. “They said Colby was down, and then the next week, he wasn’t down. Then they said he was down again, and then they said they can’t find him again. I don’t know what’s happening with him. I think he’s trying to figure out, hoping that one of these ‘55ers will move up to 170 and fight him. Or get lucky with one of those trick shots, but if you want to be a champion, if you want to be the guy, you think you’re the best in the world, you gotta fight the best in the world. And right now, I’m the best in the world.”
With Covington seemingly out as a potential opponent, Muhammad assessed his other options. There was Khamzat Chimaev, but ‘Borz’ has set his sights on a return to middleweight for a fight with Robert Whittaker.
The only other option would be the winner of the upcoming championship fight between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman at UFC 286, which Muhammad would prefer. In fact, the Roufusport representative has offered to serve as the backup fighter for Edwards vs. Usman III next month.
“It’s frustrating,” said Muhammad. “I’m in a rough spot right now because you got the title fight coming up on March 18. And the only guys above me are Khazmat, who’s moving up to middleweight, and Colby, who doesn’t want to fight.
“So, what I’m looking at, there’s nobody else in line for the title but me,” continued Muhammad. “I’m hoping the UFC gives me what I deserve, gives me the title shot [against] the winner of the next fight. Like I said, I’ll do Colby. I’ll fight Colby, but if he doesn’t want to fight, I think I deserve the next title shot.”
Muhammad extended his unbeaten streak to nine recently, with a second-round TKO of Sean Brady at UFC 280. And Covington has not fought since UFC 272, where he defeated friend-turned-foe Jorge Masvidal. At this time, the former interim UFC welterweight champion is involved in ongoing legal issues with ‘Gamebred’ stemming from an alleged assault this past March.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)