Gilbert Burns is unwilling to meet Belal Muhammad at a catchweight for UFC 288 bout.
Gilbert Burns is gunning for a UFC welterweight title. As one of the best fighters in the 170-pound division over the last couple of years, Burns has been close to a UFC title but has fallen short. Since losing his title bid back in 2021 against Kamaru Usman, Burns has been trying his hardest to get back there. It seems he has a one-track mind now and he’s looking to do anything he can to line himself up to be next for Leon Edwards. Now Burns will be taking on another top-ranked opponent Belal Muhammad in the short-notice fight at UFC 288. However, he’s not willing to cut any corners or give any favors.
Over the past month Muhammad, a devout Muslim has been observing Ramadan. This practice cuts into his ability to train therefore he was asking for the fight to take place at a higher weight class. That is something that Burns is not willing to do. He spoke about this on a recent episode of Submission Radio.
“He didn’t even ask for 175, he asked for 185 and like I said I changed a lot of habits, I used to go to 200, 205, after camp, now I stay in 187, 188 walking around,” he said. “This guy now want to go middleweight, like, I get it your Muslim, you do Ramadan but in the same way I don’t care. I’m not a Muslim, you could do whatever you want I respect, it’s not that I’m talking sh-t, you do whatever you have to do but don’t ask for an excuse…I’m not giving no favor to you. I’m not your friend.”
Gilbert Burns thinks Belal Muhammad should not be asking him for a favor
Burns is adamant that the winner of this fight should be next for the UFC title. Champion Leon Edwards will be taking on Colby Covington at some point this year but Burns wants to make sure he is next. He is taking his bout with Muhammad very seriously and in order to make sure that he is the next true welterweight title contender he wants it to take place at 170 pounds.
“You’re not my friend, we are going to war, why should I help you?” he said. “I don’t care if you cannot make weight then don’t say that you are ready. He never asked for 175, he asked for middleweight 185 and I say no. If you really want to fight it’s gonna be for number one contender, just make weight.”
Burns has won his last two fights. his first against Neil Magny in January, and then most recently against Jorge Masvidal in April. His opponent Muhammad is currently on an eight-fight winning streak. His only blemish in the last three years has been a no-contest to the champion Edwards. Many believe that this history would set him up nicely for a title shot, but Burns has other ideas and would love to slide in ahead of Muhammad.