Belal Muhammad is confident he will become a legit welterweight contender after Saturday night.
Muhammad had a shot to enter the top-five back in March when he fought Leon Edwards. Unfortunately, the scrap ended in a No Contest, but the fan-favorite gets another big fight at UFC 263 as he faces Demian Maia in an intriguing bout. For Muhammad, he says the blueprint is out there to defeat Maia.
“There’s a blueprint for beating him and you’ve seen it with a lot of the top guys who all stuck with the same game plan of just defending the takedown and keeping it on the feet,” Muhammad told UFC Arabia (via MMAJunkie). “For me, people look at his age and say he’s 42 or 43 years old, but he’s literally only lost one fight out of his last four – and he’s finished guys before that, and he’s fought only the best of the best.”
With the blueprint already out there, Belal Muhammad says he’s confident he will get the win which will be the biggest of his career. He has wanted this scrap for quite some time as he knows if he defeats the Brazilian it sets him up to face someone in the title picture.
“I think it just solidifies me as one of those guys that’s a contender,” Muhammad said on beating Maia. “They’re always looking for who’s the next guy for (welterweight champion Kamaru) Usman. It’s all looking at rematches. Give him Colby (Covington), give him this, but those guys aren’t competing right now. Colby’s sitting on the sideline.
“Now it’s going to be a new name in the division where it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s still got this guy next,’ so he shouldn’t be thinking about moving up yet,” Muhammad continued. “He’s still got a guy on the way up, a new guy, a fresh face, so I think a win over him, it just shows … he’s not a gatekeeper. He’s like a title contender keeper. So you beat him, you deserve a title shot or you deserve to be in that title picture because only the best of the best beat him.”
Belal Muhammad enters this fight coming off the No Contest to Edwards. Prior to that, he was on a four-fight winning streak with wins over Dhiego Lima, Lyman Good, Takashi Sato, and Curtis Millender.
Who do you think will win at UFC 263, Belal Muhammad or Demian Maia?