Belal Muhammad wasn’t always dreaming of becoming a UFC Champion.
Long before he became the #2 ranked welterweight in the world, Muhammad was planning on making a life for himself just like everybody else— outside of the Octagon. The Chicago-native had set his sights on a law degree, but as life goes, not everything goes according to plan.
‘I’m Not Supposed To Be Where I Am’
In his 20’s, Muhammad decided to pursue MMA fighting instead. The career change looks to have paid off so far as Muhammad is likely the next title challenger at welterweight with a 10-fight unbeaten streak.
Now at 35 years of age, ‘Remember The Name’ is still being counted out by many in his run to the title.
“We’re in the Twitter world now where everybody’s faceless, and these people had never accomplished anything in their lives,” Muhammad said on The Coach and The Casual Podcast. “They see somebody like me who’s just a normal guy who just works twice as hard as everybody else and is working his way to the top.
“I wasn’t doing martial arts since I was a kid. I started at 23 years old. I had 2 years of high school wrestling. I’m not supposed to be where I am. They see somebody like me accomplishing amazing things.”
Muhammad ‘Wasn’t Planning On Fighting’
Better late than never, Muhammad details what his ambitions were before ever stepping into the cage and what got him there in the first place.
“I didn’t do no martial arts, I was going to school for law,” Muhammad revealed. “I wasn’t planning on fighting. I wanted to join the NBA, but I didn’t get over 5’10. I was like, nothing happened. In college at the University of Illinois, I just literally stumbled across a newspaper where my old high school wrestling coach Louis Taylor was fighting for Strikeforce.”
This is where the silver lining made its mark.
“I messaged him in my Facebook, and I was like, bro, you’re a fighter? And he was like, yeah, I’m fighting, my gym’s right here’. It ended up being near my mom’s house. So, whenever I’ll come home on the weekends, I’ll go down there and train with them for a little bit. I’ll go weekends, weekends, weekends, and then I just started falling in love with it and learning from it, and then I got, like addicted to it.
“Then, once you had your 1st amateur fight, there’s a terrible fight, but I won… man, I love this for real. I need more.”
Belal Muhammad went 2-0 as an amateur before turning pro in 2012. The UFC contender has amassed an impressive 23-3 record with wins over Gilbert Burns, Sean Brady, Vicente Luque and Stephen Thompson.