Belal Muhammad: Colby Covington getting ‘a little bit desperate’ in interviews, ‘nervous’ he’ll lose title shot
Belal Muhammad was barely 48 hours removed from his win over Gilbert Burns at UFC 288 when he saw Colby Covington taking shots at his performance.
Covington, who’s been declared the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division, hasn’t fought since March 2022. But he’s expected to clash with reigning UFC champion Leon Edwards later this year, per UFC President Dana White.
Still, Muhammad can’t help but laugh at Covington’s attacks while the former interim champ has sat on the sidelines for over a year.
“I think Colby is nervous,” Muhammad told MMA Fighting. “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.”
Muhammad has repeatedly called for a fight against Covington. Each and every time he made the request, Muhammad said he was denied, including a request for Covington at UFC 288. He ultimately fought Burns instead.
While it seems inevitable Covington will get the next title shot, Muhammad believes the UFC’s planned return to Abu Dhabi in October could put him on deck because it coincides with Edwards’ timeline to compete again.
Muhammad knows he is a more attractive draw in Abu Dhabi, which he believes explains why Covington won’t shut up about him lately.
“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,” he said. “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 scoffs at Covington’s suggestion he needs another fight, considering Covington has been out of action for the past 14 months.
“I’ve done everything I’ve needed to do,” he said. “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.”
As far as who he wants to fight next — Covington or Edwards — Muhammad doesn’t really care all that much, though he has reasons to fight either one of them. He has a personal grudge with Covington and a past no-contest with Edwards.
“On the personal side, I want the Colby fight because I’ve always wanted to fight him, but my competitor side wants Leon,” Muhammad said. “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.”