Rising welterweight contender Belal Muhammad isn’t a fan of Colby Covington, and he’s hoping to meet the former interim champion in the octagon sooner rather than later.
A winner of four-straight fights, the 32-year-old Muhammad, who most recently defeated Dhiego Lima just last month, will face No. 3-ranked welterweight Leon Edwards in the main event of Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 21. With a victory over Edwards, Muhammad would skyrocket up the 170-pound rankings.
And given that UFC President Dana White has said that Edwards will be next in line for a title shot with a win over Muhammed, it’s not unrealistic to assume that Muhammad would insert himself into title discussions with a win.
Although Muhammad has discussed his interest in landing a title shot throughout this week, he’s also made it clear that he isn’t one to wait around. So if a title shot doesn’t materialize after Saturday night, the Palestinian will look to get back to work, especially if a fight against Covington is on the table.
“I’m not going to be one of those guys that’s going to sit, especially if it’s Colby Covington,” Muhammad told MMAJunkie. “After this fight, that’s who’s next, and I hate that guy’s guts. If I ever see that guy in the street, I’m hitting him.
“Obviously – that’s a fight I would want before Usman because stylistically that’s a fight that makes sense and that’s going to prepare you for the Usman fight, who’s the champion. So for me, it’s just keeping the momentum going. If I could keep fighting, if God willing I’m healthy, I win this fight, and if they wanna get me back here a month later against Colby, why not? I’m down.”
This isn’t the first time Muhammad has called out Covington, and it likely won’t be the last. Aside from representing a logical next step in his career, a fight against Covington also interests Muhammad because, like many fighters, he isn’t a fan of Covington’s personality.
“I just hate evil people,” Muhammad said. “You could sit there and say, ‘It’s a character, it’s that.’ But you wanna say the things that he says and the way that he talks about people, the way he disrespects people? I’m from Chicago, so those types of people, we don’t let you talk like that. So if you say something like that about people I know, people I respect, you’re gonna get slapped, you’re gonna get hurt. It’s not gonna happen, so for me, this is a sport.
For now, Belal Muhammad must focus on the task at hand, which is his fight against Edwards, one of the 170-pound division’s best. If he can extend his winning streak, however, big things will soon be on the horizon. And that not only includes a potential title shot but perhaps a long-sought-after meeting with Covington as well.
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.