"I haven't lost in five years" - Belal Muhammad advocates for his shot at title over Shavkat Rakhmonov, positioning himself to face Leon Edwards

Shavkat Rakhmonov (left), Leon Edwards (middle), and Belal Muhammad (right) [Images courtesy: @shavkatrakhmonov94 and @leonedwardsmma on Instagram; Getty Images]
Shavkat Rakhmonov (left), Leon Edwards (middle), and Belal Muhammad (right) [Images courtesy: @shavkatrakhmonov94 and @leonedwardsmma on Instagram; Getty Images]

Belal Muhammad has put forth his opinion on why he's more deserving of the next UFC welterweight title shot than Shavkat Rakhmonov. Presently, Muhammad holds the No.2 spot in the official UFC welterweight rankings, whereas Rakhmonov stands at No.3.

'Remember the Name' is no stranger to the reigning UFC welterweight champion, Leon Edwards. Their first encounter in March 2021 ended in a No Contest (NC), as an eye poke from Edwards ended the bout in an anti-climactic fashion.

Following that, Muhammad beat Demian Maia, Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson, Vicente Luque, Sean Brady, and Gilbert Burns. Meanwhile, Shavkat Rakhmonov, who boasts an undefeated 18-0 professional MMA record, is 6-0 in the UFC. The Kazakh fighter is fresh off a victory over 'Wonderboy'.

On the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Belal Muhammad indicated that he respects Shavkat Rakhmonov as a fighter. However, the American MMA stalwart believes that he's more deserving of a title shot against Edwards than Rakhmonov is. Muhammad asserted:

"I haven't lost in five years. There's nobody that should be ahead of me for this title fight. There's nothing that should be said. Even when I took that Gilbert Burns fight, they said, 'If you win, you're the number-one contender.' That's it. There's nothing else."

Furthermore, the 35-year-old insinuated that he, unlike most others, wouldn't merely pursue money fights against UFC megastars like Conor McGregor. Instead, 'Remember the Name' aims to face the world's best fighters.

Belal Muhammad reiterated that he fought Leon Edwards on short notice, adding that there's unfinished business between them, given how their fight ended. He opined that he's evolved and would dominantly defeat Edwards if they fight now. Muhammad further alluded to having won nine of his last 10 fights and stated:

"There's only one other guy in the division that should be up there, and that's Shavkat. But he just beat 'Wonderboy,' and I dominated 'Wonderboy' before him two years ago. After 'Wonderboy,' I beat two other top-five guys. So, no disrespect to him. He's an amazing fighter. Let me and Leon fight. I'll give him the next shot. I'm not gonna be that champion that sits out and calls for Conor McGregor or somebody like that. I want to fight the best guys in the world."

Watch Muhammad discuss the topic below (14:47):

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Belal Muhammad addresses Shavkat Rakhmonov's injury revelation after UFC 296

In what was a pivotal welterweight showdown at UFC 296 on December 16, 2023, Shavkat Rakhmonov stopped Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson via second-round submission. Rakhmonov later revealed that he'd been dealing with an ankle injury heading into the matchup.

During the 16:48-minute mark of the UFC Unfiltered podcast, host Jim Norton acknowledged Shavkat Rakhmonov's ankle injury. Belal Muhammad implied that this was yet another reason why he should be first in line for a title shot against Leon Edwards, Muhammad said:

"Yeah, I mean, he's getting ankle surgery as well. So, let him get his rest, and let the division keep moving."
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Edited by C. Naik
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