Belal Muhammad is trying to choose fights that align with his goals.
UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad has worked himself into a great position heading into 2023. After winning two fights in 2022, Muhammad can now be found sitting in the number four spot on the rankings. He has not lost a fight since 2019 and his only blemish in the past four years has been a no-contest in his fight against the reigning champion Leon Edwards. At the time that they fought, Edwards was not the champion, but now that he is on top it would make sense for Muhammad to be looking to run that one back. Although he has called for the rematch, he is admitting that there is another bout that may interest him more.
While a guest on Michael Bisping’s podcast called Believe You Me, he spoke about wanting to take a tougher fight next and explained why a match with Khamzat Chimaev is interesting to him.
Belal Muhammad believes that nobody sees champion Leon Edwards as the best in the division right now
Muhammad’s last win over Sean Brady put him into the top five. Now he is in the position to ask for a title shot. He has a history with the champion, Edwards. In their fight, Muhammad was unintentionally poked in the eye and the fight was called a no-contest. It seems that Edwards is all booked up for his first title defense when he takes on Kamaru Usman later this year and that seems okay with Muhammad as he has his eye on another option.
“I feel like I would definitely want Leon Edwards but if I’m looking at it from fight-wise and which would give me the most traction that would definitely be Khamzat. I think that’s a bigger fight than Leon is,” he said. “I do think he’s a bigger fight for me for my goals and for me to want to be the champ. Obviously, I would want to fight Leon Edwards and honestly, I do think it is an easier fight than Khamzat.”
Chimaev has been the quickest-rising star in the UFC over the past two years. He has proven that he is a tough fighter and has title aspirations. His name has been mentioned in title contention talks in both the welterweight division and the middleweight division. Muhammad wants to be the man to put a stop to the Chimaev hype train.
“Give me Khamzat, that’s the guy that everybody thinks is gonna be the best in the world. He’s the guy that, he’s gonna walk through everybody, he’s gonna be the two-division champion and I see ways to beat him and I know that I can beat him. So for me, I want to fight the guy that they think is the best, nobody thinks Leon is the best honestly right now,” he said. “They all see Khamzat as that guy that nobody can touch, nobody can beat and I do think I could beat him.”
In his last outing, Chimaev was unable to make the welterweight limit for his bout with Nate Diaz and has been teasing a move to middleweight. He intends to compete in both divisions and has been looking for a fight as well. Perhaps if Muhammad can get on his radar, that fight can be booked.