LAS VEGAS – Belal Muhammad is ready to take on the top of the welterweight division after his performance at UFC on ESPN 34.
Muhammad (21-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) defeated Vicente Luque by unanimous decision in a five-round main event Saturday at the UFC Apex. Currently holding the No. 8 spot among welterweights in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, Muhammad said afterward that he is ready to take on the best in the division, and his current winning streak supports his stance.
“Who’s the only one in the division with a better run than I am on?” Muhammad said during the post-fight news conference. “Like I’m literally fighting (Demian) Maia, “Wonderboy,” Luque. Who’s Colby (Covington) fighting? Colby’s fighting guys off two losses in a row. Who’s Leon (Edwards) fighting? Leon’s fighting 55ers.
“None of these guys are fighting the contenders in the division. None of these guys have the guts to do that. I’m the one that’s going through five, four, three, two, one. I’m the one that’s saying yes to the toughest in the division. Leon may have more wins than me, but he doesn’t have the quality of wins that I have.”
Muhammad’s win over Luque (21-8-1 MMA, 14-4 UFC) marked his seventh fight without a loss in his past eight, and he continues to show improvements in his overall game. While Muhammad believes he’s on a run better than anyone else in the division, he doesn’t expect to be handed anything following his performance.
While waiting for the top names in the division would seem like a wise play, Muhammad wants to stay busy instead. With the next welterweight title fight between champion Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards in the works for UFC 276, Muhammad would like to be on the same card.
“If the title fight is gonna happen in July, I want to be on that card,” Muhammad said. “With Leon’s luck, his fights get canceled every other day. So, I would assume that something would happen where he would trip on a wire or something, and then I’ll step in and fight Usman.”
“I had five fights in 15 months, so just want to stay active,” Muhammad explained. “Hopefully, I get a couple more desk jobs so I can stay in Vegas, stay in the limelight, and do some other things. I’m in the gym all the time.”
Belal Muhammad didn’t bother calling for a title shot and instead turned his attention to “big-mouth Karen” Colby Covington. 😎🇵🇸#UFCVegas51 | Read more: https://t.co/e3vGpyU0VU pic.twitter.com/AgrPl5ZblN
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) April 17, 2022
Covington was the name on the tip of Muhammad’s tongue during his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier in the cage, but he’s open to other challenges. That includes Khamzat Chimaev, whom Muhammad previously stated could beat everyone in the division except him.
“I feel like there’s a lot of guys above me that don’t have fights,” Muhammad said. “I don’t even think Leon has a fight. They’re saying Usman, but I just don’t think Usman’s ready for that yet. So, if Leon’s gonna wait all the way until September, October, it just doesn’t make sense. I think that fight would make sense, but you know what, you guys are gonna post the headline, ‘He wants to fight Leon.’ And the fans are gonna be like, ‘He’s such a crybaby,’ poking the hive, blah, blah. So, I don’t even want to call him out because I don’t want to offend anybody.
“Like I said, the two best guys above me that are winning right now are Khamzat and Colby, and neither one of them have fights.”