Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Belal Muhammad Leaves Usman Off His Welterweight Mount Rushmore

Belal Muhammad has left Kamaru Usman off of his welterweight Mount Rushmore list.

GOAT debates are still as subjective as they have always been. Part of this is because there are often different criteria being weighed within the same discussion.

Some may argue based on who they believe to be better from a skill-based perspective, while others primarily consider factors like résumé and the number of title defenses.

Whatever the criteria may be per person, the one absolute is that there will always be differences in opinion regarding who is the GOAT in whatever category is being discussed. However, sometimes there is some common ground found, especially if the parameters of the debate are broadened.

For instance, what if instead of one GOAT, you were provided four slots in a Mount Rushmore list? There are much more likely to be names that will absolutely pop up like Dominick Cruz at bantamweight, Daniel Cormier at light heavyweight, Anderson Silva at middleweight, etc., even if one doesn’t consider those fighters to be the GOATs in those divisions.

UFC news, rumors: Kamaru Usman responds to Colby Covington's PED  accusations ahead of UFC 245 - CBSSports.com
Kamaru Usman, Copyright: 2019 Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Perhaps the same could be said for Kamaru Usman. Although Georges St-Pierre is arguably the consensus greatest welterweight of all time, surely the man with the most consecutive wins in the division, the third most successful world title defenses, and the best overall winning percentage in company history would make the division’s Mount Rushmore cut, right?

Not according to #5-ranked welterweight Belal Muhammad.

“My welterweight Mount Rushmore? GSP, obviously; I would put T-Woodley; I would put Matt Hughes; and then I would put maybe BJ Penn, just because he had that one fight, but that’s my (list) right now,” Muhammad told MMA Junkie.

At this point, one of the podcast hosts, Gorgeous George, couldn’t help but ask about Usman’s absence from Muhammad’s list.

“No, he ain’t getting that respect until he beats me,” Muhammad declared. “And if you’re looking at it, I tell people, people keep saying he’s one of the best welterweights ever of all time. I’m like, he’s beaten Colby twice, he’s beaten Masvidal twice, he’s beaten Gilbert [Burns].

“Those are just three guys. It’s not like he’s gone through seven or eight different opponents. I mean, I respect him as a champion. He’s staying busy. But you’re fighting rematches before you’re giving other guys a chance to match up against you.”

While everyone is entitled to their opinions on such subjective matters, Muhammad’s reasoning does have some clear inconsistencies.

Firstly, if the primary reason for omitting Usman is because of the number of fighters he’s defended his title against, Tyron Woodley also defended his title against three different men: Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia, and Darren Till. This doesn’t even take into account the fact that Usman dominated Woodley to win the championship.

More glaringly, B.J. Penn has a grand sum of 0 welterweight title defenses on his résumé.

Nevertheless, if you look closely, you might detect a subtle smirk on Muhammad’s face as he mulled over his list during lengthy silences between his mentions. This, plus the fact that he inserted himself into Usman’s requirements to make the cut, could very well signal that Muhammad is either trolling or trying to prod Usman into a title fight against him.

At the moment, Usman is scheduled to face a new challenger in Leon Edwards at an unconfirmed date. However, Usman does hold a pre-title-reign victory over Edwards, so perhaps Muhammad will give minimal if any credit if Usman completes this sixth successful title defense.

What do you make of Belal Muhammad’s welterweight Mount Rushmore?

Related Articles
Related Articles