Belal Muhammad is still trying to make sense of Colby Covington’s apparent looming title shot.
The UFC and Dana White have been adamant that the next welterweight challenger for the current reigning kingpin Leon Edwards will be the man known as “Chaos.” Due to the buzz generated against the matchmaking, White has publicly defended the expected pairing several times despite Covington’s one win since September 2020.
Meanwhile, other top contenders like Belal Muhammad have continually gained momentum and stated their case for a crack at gold. Negotiating to the best of his abilities in recent weeks, Muhammad eyes the former champion Kamaru Usman if a title shot isn’t granted. The UFC instead wants “Remember the Name” to clash with rising contender Shavkat Rakhmonov.
A fight with Edwards wouldn’t be Muhammad’s first. The two met in March 2021, resulting in a no-contest after Muhammad suffered a nasty second-round eye poke that called off the action. Ultimately, the one round prior was in favor of “Rocky.”
“I don’t think it has anything to do with that one round vs. Leon,” Muhammad told UFC Unfiltered. “I’ve gone 4-0 since that fight against Top 10 guys. I think it’s just that Colby — I don’t know — maybe Dana White has a love for him or the UFC sees something in him. I don’t think he’s a superstar. I think that the PPVs he’s sold is because of [Jorge] Masvidal or Kamaru Usman. I don’t think it has anything to do with him.
“Leon’s not really a talker. He’s not a trash talker, he’s not a guy that’s big into media. He barely does any media and they know that maybe Colby will try to sell the fight more than him and maybe it will give Leon some type of superstardom. I think they’re trying hard to make him a star by giving him guys like Nate Diaz. They tried to do the Masvidal thing and he just doesn’t know how to take that type of energy and go with it because he’s very quiet and just all too himself. He tries to do his talking with fighting. But it’s the entertainment business. You gotta know how to talk, you gotta interact with fans and stuff like that. I just don’t think he does that.”
Edwards’ rise to stardom atop the 170-pound division has been a slow burn. His comeback head kick knockout over Usman in the rematch to win the title, however, has certainly been a significant booster.
The hometown London crowd was fully in support of Edwards during his trilogy clash with Usman last month, fueling the champion to a majority decision win. It was a continuation of the rivalry that Muhammad believes could have been held off for the sake of the “Nigerian Nightmare.”
“For me, it wasn’t really a lot that Leon did. It was more that Kamaru didn’t look as polished as he usually does or as confident as he usually does,” Muhammad said. “I think that he just came back way too soon from that knockout. I’ve gone into rematches with guys that have knocked me out and mentally it’s different for you and you have to go over this mental hurdle. For him to go right back at it six months later after just being put to sleep, you could tell he was just kind of like very slow starting on his feet. Very hesitant to do anything. Even his wrestling wasn’t there.
“I know Leon obviously did better in some situations, but I just think that for the most part, it was Kamaru didn’t look as good as he normally would. For me, it could have went either way. That fight was very close. I wouldn’t have been mad either way, but I don’t think Kamaru should be on his way out. I think Kamaru still has it. I just think he should have took a different fight between that fight.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
The DC debut.
10 years ago I made my @ufc debut and they gave me this guy right out the gates. I didnt benefit from easy matchmaking. I earned it all #kingofthegrind #kotg #weareaka @ZinkinEnt @thefrankmir pic.twitter.com/GKErSMx48Z— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 18, 2023
Dude got slept pic.twitter.com/3DTihH79Z8— Ben Davis (@BenTheBaneDavis) April 18, 2023
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) April 18, 2023
This KO by Collin Reuter still lives in my mind https://t.co/WmlHEyXBsn pic.twitter.com/39jQmbn4O4— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) April 19, 2023
Israel Adesanya’s feature film documentary is premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 18, 2023
This is something they’d been working on since 2018. pic.twitter.com/F62jU9IgjT
It’s hand-eye coordination.
April 18, 2023
Aldana on a 2 fight W streak, Pennington, a 5 fight W streak. Aldana is a new name for Amanda, & Pennington has reinvented herself since she fought her in 2018— Megan Anderson (@MeganAnderson) April 19, 2023
Honestly, either of them should have been matched against Nunes instead of the trilogy with Pena/rematching them ♀️
Nicely done (lol at street fight rules).
New MW title challenger just dropped. https://t.co/qwt0cDz41q— Zane Simon (@TheZaneSimon) April 18, 2023
A ruthless challenge.
Hey @Ruthless_RL, I could use a dance partner.— Proper. Mike Malott (@Michael_Malott) April 18, 2023
How’d you feel about a good-ol Canadian Donnybrook on June 10th in Vancouver pic.twitter.com/Iv6dHKSnIR
April 18, 2023
This was one of the first fights I ever saw. Damn, how time flies.
14 years ago today, Shogun knocked out Chuck Liddell— MMA Mania (@mmamania) April 18, 2023
An Ngannou-sized punching bag.
Quand Ryan Garcia envoyait toute sa force pour faire tomber Francis Ngannou...— RMC Sport Combat (@RMCSportCombat) April 18, 2023
J-4 avant le combat de l'année entre la star des réseaux sociaux et Davis. Un choc entre deux phénomènes invaincus.
Dimanche à 2h sur RMC Sport 1 pic.twitter.com/rlz0dvKHkc
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Work it out.
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Raquel Pennington (15-9) vs. Irene Aldana (14-6); UFC Vegas 73, May 20
Victoria Leonardo (9-5) vs. Natalia Silva (14-5-1); UFC Vegas 73, May 20
Orion Cosce (8-1) vs. Gilbert Urbina (6-3); UFC Vegas 73, May 20
Andre Fialho (16-6, 1 NC) vs. Joaquin Buckley (15-6); UFC Vegas 73, May 20
Modestas Bukauskas (14-5) vs. Zac Pauga (6-1); UFC Fight Night, June 17
I kind of just want to see Covington and Muhammad fight at this point even though Muhammad should get the title shot. Maybe one day.
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