Belal Muhammad still wants to fight Khamzat Chimaev and still finds him to be a quality opponent.
The UFC welterweight contender is in no way disappointed by Chimaev’s showing at last weekend’s UFC 273 pay-per-view event in Jacksonville, Fla. Chimaev, 27, defeated top contender and former title challenger Gilbert Burns in a hard-fought unanimous decision that won Fight of the Night awards.
In the lead-up to the fight, Khamzat promised a quick finish as he had done in all his previous fights. But despite not living up to his promise, Muhammad (20-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) is still impressed with what the unbeaten star showed.
“He was always human to me, that’s why I wanted that fight,” Muhammad told MMA Junkie and other reporters at UFC on ESPN 34 media day. “I think he’s still a great fighter. He’s undefeated and still super young. I think people just put him as this robot, this Marvel character that he’s just going to touch you and they fall.
“We all bleed, we’re all human beings. They put him at so high that now that he didn’t walk through No. 2 in the world, he sucks. I’m like, ‘Bro, he’s still a great challenge and a guy that could beat everybody in the division, except for me.”
Chimaev vs. Burns was a close Fight of the Night contest that had many split on who should’ve been the rightful winner. Following UFC 273, Burns opened up about wanting the fight to be five rounds and looking for a rematch.
Muhammad thinks 10 more minutes of fighting would’ve been interesting to see and wonders if that would’ve changed the result.
“It would’ve been interesting,” Muhammad said. “It was a back-and-forth war. My take on it was: Who was going to gas out first? Who was going to have more in the tank? In that third round they were both tired, but fighting out of big heart, so it would’ve been interesting to see what would’ve happened with two more rounds.”
Muhammad returns to the cage this Saturday in the main event of UFC on ESPN 34 in Las Vegas. He takes on Vicente Luque (21-7-1 MMA, 14-3 UFC) in a rematch that stems from a 2016 contest, which Luque won via knockout.