Belal Muhammad reveals sprained ankle heading into UFC 288: ‘Thankfully in the fight I felt good’

Belal Muhammad isn’t one to make excuses, but he wasn’t the only compromised fighter at UFC 288.

Muhammad (23-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) defeated Gilbert Burns (22-6 MMA, 15-6 UFC) by unanimous decision in this past Saturday’s co-main event at Prudential Center in Newark N.J., where Burns appeared to injure his shoulder early in the fight.

But during fight week, photos surfaced of Muhammad’s swollen ankle, which raised speculation about his condition. Muhammad confirmed that he did sprain his ankle but said it had no impact on him during the fight.

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“Thankfully, like I said, nothing crazy,” Muhammad told MMA Underground. “It was just, we pushed ourselves in three weeks. We had to go full force right away. And I’m always an over-trainer, an over-worker, an over-thinker. So, we started going full force at it. Stuff happens, but thankfully in the fight I felt good. The adrenaline kicked in. Nothing happened, everything worked out in our favor. It looked smooth in there. It felt smooth in there.”

Despite the injury, Muhammad used a kick-heavy approach against Burns. He was unconcerned with the further damage it could cause, since he has to wait for welterweight champion Leon Edwards to defend his title against Colby Covington before getting his title shot.

“It was a sprained ankle,” Muhammad said. “And there was a swelling around it. And we’re using it a lot because we knew we were going to be doing a lot of kicking in this fight. So, it was just like, we’ve just got to get through this fight, 25 minutes, doesn’t matter what type of pain we’re going through. We’re gonna get through it. And in the end, we’ll take all the rest we need because we’ve got to wait for these two clowns (Leon Edwards and Colby Covington) to fight anyway.”

After Muhammad pushed his unbeaten streak to 10 fights, UFC president Dana White confirmed that he’s secured a welterweight title shot against the winner of champion Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington, which is waiting to be booked.



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For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 288.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie