Colby Covington wasn’t impressed by Belal Muhammad’s performance at UFC 288 this past weekend.
The UFC welterweight division’s very best have been highlighted on four consecutive pay-per-view events stretching back to UFC 285 in March. Whether it be top contenders jockeying for position or the champion competing, there have been month-by-month developments that are keeping things interesting. Despite all the movement, however, one thing has remained the same and that’s Covington’s role as the next title challenger, according to UFC President Dana White.
Gilbert Burns went into enemy territory last month at UFC 287 to take out the hometown favorite Jorge Masvidal and hopefully change White’s mind on Covington. Instead, it led the Brazilian to a quick turnaround for UFC 288 with a five-round co-main event against Belal Muhammad, who many argue deserves the shot more than any other contender at present.
An early injury, unfortunately, hindered Burns for the entirety of his Muhammad clash, leading to a unanimous decision loss and Muhammad’s apparent next crack at gold behind “Chaos.” In the end, the one-time interim champion believes it was a meaningless bout with only one true benefactor.
“Two losers going out there and [seeing] who’s the biggest loser,” Covington told Submission Radio. “There was only one winner, guys. They weren’t guaranteed anything. Everybody knows, Dana said it over and over again, I don’t know how many times the dorks over in the MMA media need it to be explained, I’m next for the world title fight. They weren’t fighting for anything last night.
“The only person that profited and won last night was [their Dominance MMA manager] Ali ‘Abdelasleeze’ (Abdelaziz). That’s the only guy. He couldn’t lose. He put two guys out there and it was a risk for both of them for no reason. What’re they fighting for? They’re not fighting for anything. The UFC didn’t care to make that fight. It’s not like that fight was gonna sell pay-per-views or make this a big pay-per-view draw. No, those guys are nobodies.
“If anything, they’re just trying to get rid of that racist, ‘Remember the Racist’ Belal Muhammad,” he continued. “It’s disgusting, man. ‘Bill Lial’ is a racist. The fact that he said I earned something on the color of my skin because I’m white. No, nobody earns — that’s disgusting that you could ever look at someone like that and point fingers and judge them because the color of my skin. That’s clear racism and no one walked it back, no one’s said sorry for it, none of this. So, it’s disgusting that that loser would say that.”
Muhammad vs. Burns came together shortly after UFC 288 lost its original co-main event between top lightweights Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush. With some turbulent negotiations regarding the weight coming into play, it seemed that the fight may not get made in time. Ultimately, things were sorted out and allowed Muhammad to further extend his impressive stretch of fights to 10 without a loss.
“They were fighting for nothing last night,” Covington said. “You think he’s just gonna sit out until early 2024 because now this title fight’s getting pushed back until later in the end of the year, Fall, Winter. You think he’s just gonna be able to sit out? That he has that type of star power to sit out then call his shot? No, he’s gonna have to fight again, and rightfully so. When you make racist comments and you’re on the ESPN platform, this is a big platform, a lot of families and there’s a lot of kids that are looking up to us so the fact that he would make a racist comment at such a divisive time — we don’t need anymore divide in this country. We need coming together and people working together and not judging someone off the color of their skin.
“No, I did not earn this off the color of my skin. I earned this cause numbers, because of my accomplishments, beating world champion after world champion after Hall of Famer after Hall of Famer. I’m up here for a reason, not because the color of my skin like ‘Bill Lial,’ ‘Remember the Racist.’”
In terms of accolades and accomplishments, Covington is set to enter his impending title shot against the champion Leon Edwards having gone 2-2 in his last four, alternating wins and losses. Covington, 35, has only lost in title tilts opposite the former champion Kamaru Usman since December 2015 and last fought in March 2022, defeating Jorge Masvidal via a unanimous decision.
Early hopes were for the welterweight title bout to take place back in Edwards’ home of England where he successfully defended against Usman in March at UFC 286. In attendance as the backup fighter for the bout, Covington is nothing but complimentary of the country’s fans and upset he won’t get to compete at the event that’s now been relegated to a July Fight Night event.
Covington now anticipates the Edwards matchup to take place in August or September, but hopes it can happen sooner.
“The real facts and truth of the knowledge of why it didn’t pan out — there’s only one person to blame, guys,” Covington said. “The UFC, they already switched the card from ESPN to a pay-per-view, and Dana already had it set in stone that it was gonna be a pay-per-view. I was on board, UFC was pushing for it. They really wanted to give the fans of the U.K. a show because they realize how good of business and how good of energy it is over there in the U.K. in that O2 Arena. Those fans are fricken amazing. Like honestly, it’s the most electric fans I’ve ever been around.
“The only reason that fight didn’t happen is Leon f****** ‘Scott.’ That’s the only reason it didn’t happen and it’s sad. But you know what, guess what, guys? Now he’s gotta come to American soil and surrender like Cornwallis. Yes, I’m talking about Yorktown. Everybody knows Leon is nothing more than a placeholder and his new name is ‘Low IQ’ Edwards.”
Takeaways. Aljamain Sterling, Belal Muhammad demand respect amid MMA’s eternal sea of negativity
Trouble. Tony Ferguson arrested for DUI after allegedly crashing into two cars, flipping truck in Hollywood
Bantamweight. Sean O’Malley calls Merab Dvalishili ‘a little goofball’ after altercation; Dana White says faceoff was ‘bad idea’
Thoughts. ‘Not a scratch on Aljo’: Pros react to Aljamain Sterling’s win over Henry Cejudo at UFC 288
Flashbacks. Dana White reacts to Kron Gracie’s UFC 288 performance: ‘It was like coming out of a time capsule in 1995’
Jiu-Jitsu. ‘This is horrible’: Pros react to Kron Gracie’s performance against Charles Jourdain at UFC 288
Moves. Demetrious Johnson plans to consult Georges St-Pierre, Khabib Nurmagomedov on retirement
Moment. Mike Perry on Conor McGregor faceoff at BKFC 41: ‘He was ready to punch me right then’
Contention. Belal Muhammad adamant title shot is next: ‘There’s no denying me now’
Matchup. Aljamain Sterling promises to fold ‘frail’ Sean O’Malley ‘in half like a lawn chair’
UFC 2882 Post-Fight Show.
UFC 288 Post-Fight Press Conference.
On To the Next One with Mike Heck and Alex K. Lee.
Crazy fight finishes.
Sterling fight night BTS.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
#UFC289 pic.twitter.com/H7NDlIsmjf— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) May 5, 2023
Seems like @stylebender is promoting a third fight. I like this idea. Let’s go @ufc @danawhite— Alex "Poatan" Pereira (@AlexPereiraUFC) May 5, 2023
Just one more.
Hey @ufc I plan on getting fixed up and cleared within 3-4 months. Surgeon is very optimistic in that and has done this procedure to other currents ufc fighters who have come back and won fights. I still feel young and still have atleast 3 years left in me. I have stepped up many— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) May 5, 2023
Times and will always be that guy for the company that I love. I ask please that you keep the door open for me to come back once I’m medically cleared. I will be even better when I’m all fixed up. I’m only going under the knife to continue my fighting career and I’ll be ready— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) May 5, 2023
In November for msg in new York fully healthy in my home state ! This is all I know. All I ask is atleast one last farewell fight @danawhite @seanshelby— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) May 5, 2023
Will @mousasi_mma stop Edwards?— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) May 5, 2023
A shot at middleweight gold is up for grabs as Gegarrd Mousasi takes on @fabianedwards24 at the @Accor_Arena in Paris #Bellator296 | Fri, May 12th | @SHOsports pic.twitter.com/B0FVYF5u9m
勝利— 朝倉 海 Kai Asakura (@kai_1031_) May 6, 2023
黙って練習して、試合決まったら照準合わせしっかり準備して、試合で爆発させる。— Shinobu ota / 太田忍 official (@shinobu_ota_mma) May 6, 2023
Demetrious Johnson (2023)— Fight Pictures That Go Hard (@fightpicsgohard) May 6, 2023
2-1 we have finished the trilogy!! pic.twitter.com/FiRvqX4ISH— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouse) May 6, 2023
The RIZIN war tour continues.
So thankful to fight such a great warrior thank you for the rounds pride never dies and this fight showed that! Onward and upward to the title @rizin_PR title time let’s goooooo! pic.twitter.com/N6vL5wT9M8— Juan Archuleta (@jarchmma) May 6, 2023
Красота повсюду,главное её видеть ❤️ pic.twitter.com/aTCxUa6Imw— Diana Avsaragova (@pantera_57_) May 6, 2023
Ждёте мой следующий бой ? pic.twitter.com/pEhedZgTYV— Diana Avsaragova (@pantera_57_) May 6, 2023
If this stays the main event, this might DESTROY our algorithms with the amount of money we gonna make pic.twitter.com/qweVuPx4lU— Sodiq Yusuff (@Super_Sodiq) May 6, 2023
Ice, ice, baby.
Recovery after training . pic.twitter.com/OfPkhuAT3W— Natalia Silva (@nataliasilvaufc) May 6, 2023
Congratulations to the champ @MightyMouse ! I just want say thanks for everyone who support me in this journey, thank you very much !!! Much love and respect !!! I will never give up— Adriano Moraes (@adrianomkmoraes) May 6, 2023
Zion internation park, a great place to enjoy beautiful views and fresh air. I recommend to everyone #zion #ufc pic.twitter.com/BW7hV1wnXV— Sergei Pavlovich (@SPavlovich13) May 6, 2023
Imagine spending a ton of your recreational time just hating on professional athletes. It is one’s right…but these men and women work so hard and fight so hard and deserve the ultimate respect. Greatest athletes in the world.— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) May 7, 2023
A win in a loss.
50k bonus— Diego Lopes (@Diegolopesmma) May 7, 2023
we come for war— Diego Lopes (@Diegolopesmma) May 7, 2023
anxious to return with a full training camp
You live and die by the sword. That sucked but I'm not ashamed of taking chances, chasing greatness, and overcoming failure. Congratulations to @SteamRollaa . He was the better fighter tonight.— Drew Dober (@DrewDober) May 7, 2023
Relying on BJJ in MMA with no wrestling is kinda crazy— Sodiq Yusuff (@Super_Sodiq) May 7, 2023
@SugaSeanMMA First… you gave me your jacket and I thank you for the gift. But then you cried for me to give it back and called me coat boy .. well if I am the coat boy … WHERE’S MY TIP ?? @ufc— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) May 7, 2023
What’s your Venmo I’ll send you 20— Sean O'Malley (@SugaSeanMMA) May 7, 2023
Actually 15 it smelt weird as fuck after I got it back— Sean O'Malley (@SugaSeanMMA) May 7, 2023
Shoutout to @bullyb170 great win! Wish you nothing but the best, go get the title!— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) May 7, 2023
Stop the hate and start to appreciate! #ufc288 pic.twitter.com/TivMmzWFdQ
May 8, 2023
Emily Ducote (12-7) vs. Lupita Godinez (9-3); UFC Vegas 73, May 20
Carl Deaton III (17-6, 2 NC) vs. Alexander Munoz (6-2); UFC Fight Night, July 15
Danny Roberts (18-7) vs. Jonny Parsons (8-2); UFC London, July 22
Unfortunately, I could see Covington being right depending on how long it takes to this all squared away. At the same time, there’s no way Muhammad won’t be the backup fighter so I think it’s still very possible he’ll stick to his guns on this one.
Thanks for reading!
Last Week’s Results:
Friday: 66% of 582 total votes answered “Gilbert Burns” when asked, “Who wins tomorrow?” Belal Muhammad def. Burns via unanimous decision in the UFC 288 co-main event.
Thursday: 90% of 494 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Will Sean O’Malley face the Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo winner?”
Wednesday: 42% of 377 total votes answered “C” when asked, “With the loss of Bryce Mitchell, what’s your new rating for UFC 288’s pay-per-view lineup?”
Tuesday: 80% of 734 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Will we ever see Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 4?”
Monday: 70% of 443 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Will Jorge Masvidal fight again?”
Today’s exit poll:
Will Muhammad fight again before a title shot?
This poll is closed
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.