Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Muhammad Unwilling To Be Official Backup To Usman vs. Edwards

UFC welterweight contender Belal Muhammad isn’t interested in being an official backup for the upcoming title fight between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards, but he is open to fighting on the same card.

In an interview with MMA Junkie where Muhammad also left Kamaru Usman off his welterweight Mount Rushmore, “Remember the Name” was asked if he’d be willing to weigh in as a backup for the planned welterweight title fight between Usman and Edwards.

Muhammad was quick to dismiss the idea of being a backup.

“I’d rather be on the card with them,” Muhammad said. “I don’t want to make weight just to make weight,” Muhammad said. If I’m on a card with them, I’d rather have that. I’ll be on the same card and then if one of them ends up pulling out, I’ll hop in that way.

“If you’re really thinking about it, if I do end up fighting [Khamzat] Chimaev or something, training for him would be the same as training for Usman,” Muhammad explained.

(Alex Behunin/Cageside Press)

Competing in the UFC since 2016 and currently on a three-fight win streak, the 33-year-old Muhammad understands the value of a chance at the title.

When asked if he thought that fighters who weigh-in as backups are mentally and physically prepared to fight, Muhammad provided the following response.

“For me, to get my first title shot and get a chance at it, I’d want it to be legit where I know for 8 weeks that’s all I’m focused on.”

Currently the UFC’s #5-ranked welterweight, Belal “Remember the Name” Muhammad earned a unanimous decision victory in his most recent fight against Vincente Luque last month.

In addition to it being Muhammad’s second UFC main event, the Chicago native also avenged his 2016 knockout loss to Luque. Muhammad is currently on a three-fight win streak after his 2021 bout with Leon Edwards was stopped due to an eye poke and declared a No Contest.

If Muhammad really does intend to fight on the same card as Usman vs. Edwards, he’ll have to wait until the fight has a confirmed date. There’s also the question of the opponent, as there are very few welterweights ranked above him following that win over Luque.

With Edwards set to challenge Usman for the title and Gilbert Burns coming off a loss to Khamzat Chimaev, Colby Covington and Chimaev appear to be the only matchups that make sense if Muhammad wants to keep climbing the welterweight rankings.

What do you think of Muhammad’s comments on the idea of weighing in as a backup fighter?

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