Efter att ha besegrat Gilbert Burns på UFC 288 hade det inte gått mer än 48 timmar innan Belal Muhammad fick se Colby Covington kritisera hans prestation.

Belal Muhammad: Colby Covington är desperat i intervjuer

Colby Covington, som utnämnts till den främste utmanaren i welterviktsdivisionen, har inte gått en match sedan mars 2022. Enligt UFC-presidenten Dana White förväntas han dock möta den regerande mästaren Leon Edwards senare i år.

Muhammad kan inte hålla sig från att skratta åt Covingtons angrepp, särskilt med tanke på att den tidigare interimmästaren har suttit vid sidlinjerna i över ett år.

Muhammad sade följande till MMA Fighting:

I think Colby is nervous. He saw me win this fight, and he’s like, ‘Oh crap, maybe I’m losing my shot, maybe Dana White will change his mind,’ or something like that, especially if Leon wants to fight in Abu Dhabi.

Now, he’s trying to pull strings like, ‘He has to fight again, he’s not a star.’ I’m like, bro, what did your pay-per-view against [Jorge] Masvidal do? The people you fought are the ones that raised the pay-per-view stock. You’re just a clown where people are like, maybe he’ll do something crazy when he headlines, and maybe [Donald] Trump comes to the fights, so let’s give him a title shot. There’s nothing special about him.

But I think he sees that I just won this fight and the world sees I’m on a 10-fight winning streak, took a fight on three weeks’ notice, went out there and beat the No. 5 [ranked] fighter in the world. [Colby’s] last win is against No. 12 in the world, and he couldn’t finish him and he almost got knocked out. So now he’s like, ‘Let me do 10 interviews in a row real quick and try to get some headlines.’ He’s getting a little bit desperate, and that’s what I like. I like that little fear in him.

Skulle vara ett större namn i Abu Dhabi än Covington

Muhammad har upprepade gånger bett om en match mot Covington, men varje gång har han blivit nekad, inklusive begäran om att möta Covington vid UFC 288. Istället fick han möta Gilbert Burns som han besegrade via enhälligt domslut.

Även om det verkar oundvikligt att Covington kommer att få nästa chans att tävla om titeln, tror Muhammad att UFC:s planerade återkomst till Abu Dhabi i oktober kan ändra på det. Detta sammanfaller nämligen med Edwards tidslinje för att vara redo att fightas igen.

Muhammad vet att han är ett mer attraktivt dragplåster i Abu Dhabi, och det är en anledning till att Covington nyligen inte kan sluta prata om honom.

Obviously, me going out there and taking that fight on short notice is also trying to get into the boss’s good graces, and show them that I can be the guy to step up whenever you guys need it at a moment’s notice. I’m not all talk. I will be a champion. I will be an active champion. I won’t just be sitting back on my spot. Abu Dhabi, they’re probably telling the UFC, ‘Hey we want this guy to be on the card, we want this guy to fight for the belt on the card,’ and money talks.

The UFC [should think] Colby’s not worth the time, not worth the energy. Imagine if he beats Leon, you have that clown with the belt. He’s going to be the worst champion you’ve ever had. He’ll sit out for two years doing nothing but his victory parade.

Muhammad skrattar åt Covingtons påstående att han behöver en till match, med tanke på att Covington har varit inaktiv i över 14 månader:

I’ve done everything I’ve needed to do. There’s nobody else out there for me to fight, and the only thing that it’s going to be is worse for Leon or Colby. Because whoever wins that fight, they’re only going to fight a better version [of me]. The longer it takes, the better I’m going to get.

For me to take this fight on three weeks’ notice and look this good, it tells you how much work I’m doing outside of camps. How much work I’m doing just randomly because I’m bored. All I do is fight, train, sleep, eat. That’s all I’m doing no matter what.

Bryr sig inte om han möter Covington eller Leon Edwards härnäst

När det kommer till vem han vill fightas mot härnäst – Covington eller Edwards – bryr sig Muhammad inte så mycket, även om han har sina skäl att fightas mot båda. Han har en personlig fiendskap med Covington och en tidigare oavgjord match mot Edwards:

On the personal side, I want the Colby fight because I’ve always wanted to fight him, but my competitor side wants Leon. Because of all the people talked and all the people that were like, ‘Well he lost one round,’ [against Leon] and talked all that trash for him and as a competitor to accept a no-contest like that, to be happy and satisfied with that and to be running from me since then. I would want that back just so I could freaking hurt him and beat him and show you guys that’s what I meant when I said that was only one round.

That’s why I would want that fight more than anything, but either one of them can get it.

Det återstår att se vem Muhammad möter härnäst.

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