Belal Muhammed on Colby Covington: ‘It’s a joke, he’s going to go out there and get finished’


Belal Muhammed sat down with Sky Sports to discuss his upcoming title fight, and his thoughts on the Colby Covington saga. “I’ve earned my spot as the number one contender, when Colby and Leon [Edwards] fight, I’ll be in the front row”.

Belal Muhammed on Colby Covington: 'It's a joke, he's going to go out there and get finished'

Belal Muhammed was in Canada at a fundraiser event when he learned that Gilbert Burns was without an opponent for Saturday’s card in New Jersey. Any other fighter might not have wanted to risk their position within the division at such short notice, but the 34-year-old felt in control.

“I’m always just training all year round. I was literally in Canada at a charity event, so I was hitting some jogging, but not training at all,” he says.

“When they caught me with the fight, I thought ‘this is an opportunity too big to pass up’.

“My body naturally stays in pretty good shape, and I don’t really get out of shape, so I knew I would be good enough for five rounds if I had to”.

Muhammed won by unanimous decision, an outcome which Burns could do little to prevent after injuring his shoulder midway through the second round.

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Belal Muhammed on Colby Covington: 'It's a joke, he's going to go out there and get finished'

The Brazilian submission grappler was noticeably compromised from that point, and many questioned why Muhammed was not able to finish him under 25 minutes. They would not have known that not only had he taken on the fight without any official prep, but he was also nursing a sprained ankle.

“I did everything I could do in the three weeks, not putting any pressure on it, doing more drilling, doing a lot of biking instead of jogging”.

“I knew that once I got into the fight, it wouldn’t hurt as much. I thought, I’ll just get through the 25 minutes and then after that I’ll deal with it”.

“People are gonna say whatever they want to say no matter what,” he said of the backlash.

“For me, Gilbert Burns is one of the toughest guys in the division and you know, he wasn’t throwing that arm, but he was defending with that arm.

Belal Muhammed on Colby Covington: 'It's a joke, he's going to go out there and get finished'

“So I stayed in his face. I put more pressure on him. I hit him more times than anybody else has ever hit him”.

“But, he just had no give up in him. He had no break in him and he was still fighting until the end, trying to get a finish, the whole time”.

Whether it’ll be useful groundwork is still anybody’s guess. Muhammed has said that Dana White, who is president of the UFC, has confirmed that he will have a shot at the welterweight title in his next fight. But the ongoing saga between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington has clouded the situation.

“Honestly, I think it’s a joke. There’s no reason, it makes no sense as to why he [Covington] is getting the title fight”.

Belal Muhammed on Colby Covington: 'It's a joke, he's going to go out there and get finished'

“He has one win in the last year and it was against Jorge Masvidal, who’s retired and was ranked 14th at the time. He hasn’t fought or beaten any contenders, and he’s getting his third title fight out of his last five fights.

“It’s like they’re trying really hard for him to win the title, but they don’t realise that he sucks, and he’s not going to beat anybody.

“I’ve earned this” Muhammed insisted. “Burns was my third top five guy, and the fifth top 10 guy that I’ve beaten. Nobody else in the division is doing that, not even the champion.

“So, for me it’s to be out there, winning a fight like this on three weeks notice, I’ve earned my spot as the number one contender.

“When I get in there, I’m just going to be a whole different animal. I’ve been training and practicing and just getting better. So, whoever I face, it’s going to be a bad night for them.

How would he feel about locking horns with Edwards? Muhammed wants to finish what the pair started when they met in UFC187 and a no-contest was called after an accidental eye poke from Edwards rendered Muhammad unable to continue.

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“We have history, I want to get that back. If he fights Colby first, well I think he’s going to go out there and finish him.

However it goes down, Muhammed will be doing it with the proud people of Palestine behind him. He’s brought the flag with him to all his fights despite the UFC locking down on political promotions.

“It means everything for the people there, they’re fighting the real fight. The 25 minutes in the cage is nothing compared to what they’re going through”.

“So, to be able to fight for them and make them happy, if that small celebration makes somebody over there smile or hold their head up a little bit higher, it’s like I’m winning no matter what”.

“And just to be able to carry that flag on the stage in front of millions of people to show them that we do exist, means the world to me”.


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