Streaking welterweight contender, Belal Muhammad has confirmed he will serve as the official backup fighter to next weekend’s undisputed title fight between former foe, Leon Edwards, and Colby Covington – ahead of the pair’s slated clash at UFC 296 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Muhammad, the current number two ranked division contender, has been sidelined since he landed a one-sided unanimous decision win over former title chaser, Gilbert Burns at UFC 288 back in May, extending his undefeated streak to a stunning 10 consecutive boots.
Headlining UFC 297 next weekend in his second attempted title defense, Birmingham native, Edwards makes his return to ‘Sin City’ – taking on former interim champion, Covington in a long-awaited clash between the duo.
Edwards, the undisputed welterweight champion, headlined UFC 286 back in March of this year in London, turning in a majority decision win over three-time foe and former pound-for-pound number one, Kamaru Usman in the pair’s rubber match trilogy bout.
As for Covington, the Clovis native has been sidelined since he headlined a pay-per-view event against arch-rival and former training partner, former two-time title challenger, Jorge Masvidal back in March of last year – turning in a one-sided judging win over the Floridan veteran.
Belal Muhammad set to serve as backup fighter at UFC 296
And electing to utilize a backup fighter option at UFC 296 next weekend, Illinois native, Muhammad is set to claim that slot, with the surging contender on hand to replace either Edwards or Covington if required at the final flagship event of the year.
“For me, I was training this whole time regardless just in case something happened,” Belal Muhammad told MMA Junkie. “The last two main events on the pay-per-views both got canceled, but since my last fight with Gilbert Burns, I took that one on short-notice and I was like, ‘I never want to get out of shape like this again.’ Because I was so bad before that fight and it was the hardest fight cut ever.”
“So I knew I had to be a professional from then on,” Belal Muhammad explained. “Never getting big like that again.”