“He’s gonna have to fight again”: Colby Covington claims Belal Muhammad lacks “start power” for UFC welterweight title shot

Belal Muhammad’s performance at UFC 288 over the weekend failed to impress Colby Covington, the UFC welterweight division’s top contender.

The last four pay-per-view events, beginning with UFC 285 in March, have showcased the division’s elite fighters, including top contenders vying for a title shot and the reigning champion.

Despite all the shuffling, Covington’s position as the next title challenger remains unchanged, as confirmed by UFC President Dana White.

Colby Covington

Gilbert Burns, on the other hand, had hoped to persuade White to reconsider Covington’s status by defeating hometown favorite Jorge Masvidal at UFC 287 last month.

Instead, Burns suffered an early injury, forcing him into a quick turnaround for UFC 288, where he faced off against Belal Muhammad in a five-round co-main event. Many believe that Muhammad, rather than any other contender, deserved the opportunity to fight for the title.

Unfortunately for Burns, his injury hampered him throughout his bout against Muhammad, resulting in a unanimous decision loss and Muhammad’s apparent shot at the gold behind Covington.

Covington, the one-time interim champion, believes the fight was inconsequential and that only one person truly benefitted from it.

“Two losers going out there and [seeing] who’s the biggest loser,” Covington told Submission Radio. “There was only one winner, guys. They weren’t guaranteed anything. Everybody knows, Dana said it over and over again, I don’t know how many times the dorks over in the MMA media need it to be explained, I’m next for the world title fight. They weren’t fighting for anything last night.”

Colby Covington expresses his views on Belal

“They were fighting for nothing last night,” Covington said. “You think he’s just gonna sit out until early 2024 because now this title fight’s getting pushed back until later in the end of the year, Fall, Winter. You think he’s just gonna be able to sit out? That he has that type of star power to sit out then call his shot? No, he’s gonna have to fight again, and rightfully so.

After the original co-main event between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush fell through, Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns were matched up for UFC 288.

Negotiations over the weight were turbulent, but the fight was ultimately made and Muhammad extended his undefeated streak to 10 fights. Meanwhile, Colby is set to challenge welterweight champion Leon Edwards after going 2-2 in his last four fights.

He has only lost to former champion Kamaru Usman in title fights since December 2015, and his last fight was a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in March 2022.

Originally, there were hopes that the title bout would take place in England where Edwards had previously defended his title against Usman.

Covington, who was in attendance as a backup fighter for that fight, is disappointed that the event has been moved to a July Fight Night event, and he now anticipates the matchup to take place in August or September, but he hopes it can happen sooner.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is a UFC/boxing journalist who connects combat sports to pop culture. His deep passion for the UFC started in 2018, triggered by the UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor fight. He is a passionate writer who has a profound love for the sport and the skills that are used in it. Through his work, Sami aspires to connect combat sportsmen and their enthusiastic fans.


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