Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns have engaged in a war of words in the days leading up to UFC 283. Burns fired the opening salvo during the media rounds ahead of his bout with Neil Magny questioning how Muhammad could possibly be ahead of him in the welterweight rankings.
Muhammad occupies the #4 spot with Burns right behind him at #5. A befuddled Burns questioned the logic of the rankings, intimating that Muhammad’s win over Sean Brady and refusal to fight him on this card doesn’t make sense to him.
Muhammad did not wait long to respond, bringing up his recent accomplishments and Burns’ inactivity as the reason behind the rankings. Burns hasn’t fought since a competitive loss to Khazmat Chimaev at UFC 273 last April, and has been calling for a fight with Jorge Masvidal in the interim.
“Lol because u have one ranked win and I have 4 ….and u begged for the masvidal fight for the last 7 months.”Belal Muhammad responds to Gilbert Burns
It has been a slow climb for Muhammad. After a 2019 to Geoff Neal, he has gone 8-0 with a no contest against Leon Edwards in 2021.
Belal Muhammad needs a big fight
It makes sense for Muhamamd to lash out at Burns, especially as he is in dire need of securing a big fight. Edwards had no interest in facing him again, and Muhammad just doesn’t have the “it” factor that makes him appealing to the rest of the welterweight division. Fanning the flames between him and Burns could lead to a clash down the line.
Burns is expected to handily beat Magny at UFC 283. While Magny holds records for total wins and decision wins at welterweight, Burns doesn’t gain much in beating him. If anything, moving on to Muhammad and beating him gets him back in line for a shot at the title.
With Muhammad not scheduled for any action in the coming months and Burns’ anticipated win, this is a natural fight to make. If these two continue to jab at each other–and they certainly will–then they’ll serve a mutual interest in building up hype for an eventual spring showdown.