The ninth number of the UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad expressed a desire to hold a fight with Colby Covington, who, in his opinion, undeservedly received the right to challenge the promotion’s title for the second time.
With an impressive unanimous decision win over Demian Maia at UFC 263, Muhammad (19-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) is now another step closer to earning a title shot in a division that is crowded at the very top – and he is looking to take on big names. With Gilbert Burns, Leon Edwards and Stephon Thompson still in the title mix, there’s one name that doesn’t fit, according to Muhammad.
“I still don’t understand why Colby’s getting the title fight,” Muhammad told 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.”
Belal Muhammad was referring to Covington’s title opportunity against Kamaru Usman at UFC 245 in 2019, a fight he lost by TKO in the final round and suffered a broken jaw at the hands of the current champion. Since then, Covington has only competed once, winning against former champ Tyron Woodley at UFC Fight Night 178 in September 2020.
“Usman fought three times since that fight, and you’re just sitting out,” Muhammad continued. “It’s not like you’re a huge pay-per-view draw. It’s not like if I’m Usman, I’m like, ‘Yeah, let me get that Colby fight, I’m gonna get 800,00 pay-per-views.’ The first one did 200,000 pay-per-views, so it’s not like you’re gonna make a big payday with that, regardless.”
Despite his inactivity compared to other top names in the division, UFC president Dana White maintains that Covington is next in line for a title shot.
Prior to the win over Maia, and in one of the biggest fights of his career, Muhammad faced Edwards in the main event of UFC Fight Night 187. After a nasty eye poke in the second round, the bout was stopped with Muhammad unable to continue and declared a no content.
Since that moment, which admittedly left a sour taste in his mouth, Muhammad has campaigned for a rematch with Edwards. Now, though, Muhammed says Edwards is no longer his No. 1 choice for his next fight.
“I want Colby more than anybody,” Belal Muhammad said. “The hatred I have for that guy is levels above Leon. Of course I want Leon back just because the way that one ended, but Colby’s still a level above him.”
If Covington does get the next title shot, then Muhammad believes the rematch with Edwards makes the most sense. In the event that plans change, though, Muhammad believes a fight with Covington would be fun for the fans.
“I’ve been calling out Colby since I fought in Australia against Tim Means,” Muhammad stated. “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 a takedown, what’s he gonna do?”