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'Just let me get a ranked fighter, I don't care who' - Belal Muhammad spoke about his desperation before Leon Edwards bout confirmation

Leon Edwards (left); Belal Muhammad (right)
Leon Edwards (left); Belal Muhammad (right)
Johny Payne
ANALYST
Modified 19 Feb 2021
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Belal Muhammad expressed his desperation to fight a ranked fighter before the confirmation of his upcoming bout against Leon Edwards.

Muhammad is presently on a four-fight winning streak, with his most recent fight being a unanimous decision win over Dhiego Lima at UFC 258 (February 13th, 2021).

Speaking to ESPN MMA, Belal Muhammad revealed that he’s been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to fight a ranked opponent in the UFC. Muhammad claimed, however, that getting a fight against any of the top-15 UFC welterweights has been quite a challenge for him. 'Remember The Name' emphasized that most of them turn down the chance of fighting him.

In response to being asked whether he believes he deserves the opportunities to fight higher-ranked opponents, Belal Muhammad stated:

“Yeah, man, but it’s like one of those where a lot of people tell me, ‘oh, you need to fight somebody better. You need to fight something…’ But I’m like, ‘I’ve literally been calling everybody out’. Like literally, I’ve been calling these guys out. After every one of my fights, I’m calling somebody out. I was one of the first guys to be calling out Colby Covington before he was in title contention where he is now. Like I’m sitting there trying to call out the top guys, but they just don’t give it to me.”
Additionally, explaining why he called out the No. 12-ranked Li Jingliang, Belal Muhammad said, “Like I called out (Santiago) Ponzinibbio after my last fight. And then before that, I called out Li Jingliang. And they gave them both each other. So like with this one, I was even aiming high, I literally called up right above me at No. 12. And then people were like, ‘you gotta call out higher than that’. And I’m like, ‘bro, just let me get a ranked fighter’. I don’t care who it is. I just want to fight a ranked fighter. I just want somebody with a number next to their name.”
Noting how he’s now a ranked fighter, at No. 13 in the UFC welterweight rankings, Belal Muhammad added, “And now that I have a number next to my name, I’m hoping it’ll be easier to get a bigger name. But, like I said, you never know with these guys…” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

Furthermore, Belal Muhammad opined that currently, fighters, particularly the higher-ranked and high-profile fighters, come up with a wide variety of excuses to turn down fights.

Belal Muhammad is now booked to fight Leon Edwards

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Belal Muhammad (left); Leon Edwards (right)
Belal Muhammad (left); Leon Edwards (right)

As of this writing, the MMA community is abuzz with speculation about how the upcoming welterweight bout between Belal Muhammad and Leon Edwards will play out.

Belal Muhammad has stepped in to replace Khamzat Chimaev and fight the No. 3-ranked UFC welterweight Leon Edwards in the main event of UFC Fight Night 187 (March 13th, 2021).

Published 19 Feb 2021, 06:22 IST
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