Belal Muhammad is pulling out all the stops in his quest for a title shot in the UFC. His latest move? Accepting the role of backup for the highly anticipated UFC 296 main event, which features Leon Edwards defending his welterweight title against Colby Covington. Muhammad, who boasts an impressive 10-fight unbeaten streak, has agreed to step on the scales and weigh in as the contingency plan in case anything unforeseen happens to either fighter in the title bout.
Insider sources close to the situation have confirmed this development, which was first disclosed by Muhammad himself to MMA Junkie. Muhammad’s journey to this point has been a rollercoaster ride. Following a dominant victory over Gilbert Burns in May, he was promised the coveted No. 1 contender status in the welterweight division. However, there was a catch—Colby Covington had already been granted the next title shot, leaving Muhammad on the sidelines, eagerly awaiting his opportunity to compete for gold.
Now, as the backup for UFC 296, Muhammad is hoping that a showdown with the eventual winner lies in store for him in 2024. Leon Edwards himself has acknowledged Muhammad as a potential contender in the lead-up to his title defense. These two welterweights clashed previously in 2021, with their fight ending in a no contest due to an accidental eye poke from Edwards that prematurely concluded Muhammad’s night.
Edwards stated, “Is he the No. 1 contender? I don’t know. Would I fight him again? Absolutely. That’s easy work. That’s easy money. If he is the guy next, he’s the guy. But does anyone want to see that? Probably not, but if he’s the guy, then I’ll happily silence him.”
As Muhammad steps into the backup role for the main event, former UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno will assume a similar position for the co-main event. There, Alexandre Pantoja will defend his title against Brandon Royval, adding an extra layer of intrigue to an already action-packed fight card. The world of UFC is always filled with surprises, and Muhammad’s willingness to serve as a backup fighter underscores the lengths to which athletes will go for a chance at championship glory.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UFC 296 Backup Fighter
What is the significance of Belal Muhammad serving as a backup for UFC 296?
Belal Muhammad’s role as a backup for UFC 296 is crucial in case anything happens to the main event fighters, Leon Edwards and Colby Covington. This ensures that the event can proceed smoothly even if one of the fighters encounters an issue.
Why did Belal Muhammad accept this backup role?
Muhammad has been eager for a title shot in the UFC’s welterweight division. Although promised the No. 1 contender status, he had to wait due to Colby Covington’s prior commitment. By serving as a backup, Muhammad stays in the spotlight and positions himself for a potential title fight in 2024.
What is the history between Belal Muhammad and Leon Edwards?
Muhammad and Edwards have faced each other before, with their previous fight ending in a no contest due to an accidental eye poke by Edwards. There is a potential rivalry brewing, as Edwards has expressed willingness to face Muhammad again if he becomes the No. 1 contender.
Who else is serving as a backup for UFC 296?
Former UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno is also serving as a backup, specifically for the co-main event featuring Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval. This adds an extra layer of intrigue to the fight card.
What can we expect from UFC 296 with Belal Muhammad as the backup fighter?
With Muhammad ready to step in if needed, UFC 296 becomes even more exciting, as any unexpected turn of events won’t derail the main event. It keeps fans and fighters alike on their toes, and Muhammad’s dedication to securing a title shot is evident in his willingness to take on this role.