Why Belal Muhammad wants Khamzat Chimaev: ‘Nobody thinks Leon Edwards is the best right now’

Belal Muhammad’s goal is to capture UFC welterweight gold, but he doesn’t see the champion as his biggest fight.

Muhammad (22-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) continuously has called out undefeated star Khamzat Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) but to no avail. “Remember the Name” is unbeaten in his past nine fights, with the lone asterisk coming in a no contest against current 170-pound champion Leon Edwards after an inadvertent eye poke rendered Muhammad unable to continue.

Muhammad, who’s coming off a TKO of Sean Brady at UFC 280, is currently training and staying ready in case Kamaru Usman can’t make it to his projected trilogy bout with Edwards in March. But the fighter Muhammad really wants to test himself against is the division’s boogeyman, Chimaev, who claims that no one wants to fight him.

“I would definitely want Leon Edwards, but if I’m looking at it fight wise and which would give me the most attraction, it would definitely be Khamzat,” Muhammad said on the “Believe You Me” podcast. “I think Khamzat’s a bigger fight than Leon. For me and my goals and wanting to be a champion, obviously I would want to fight Leon Edwards, and honestly I think he’s an easier fight than Khamzat. But when people tell me, ‘Who do you want next? Oh, you’re lying about calling out Khamzat. You really don’t want that fight.’ …

“Give me Khamzat. That’s the guy everybody thinks is gonna be the best in the world. He’s gonna walk through everybody. He’s gonna be two-division champion. I see ways to beat him, and I know that I can beat him, so for me, I want to fight the guy that they think is the best.”

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The No. 1 welterweight right now is Edwards (20-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC), who scored a stunning comeback knockout of Usman to claim the welterweight title at UFC 278. But for Muhammad, Edwards isn’t the toughest challenge.

“Nobody thinks Leon is the best right now,” Muhammad said. “They think if they’re gonna fight Usman again, ‘Well, Usman was dominating him the whole time, he’s probably going to take him down, wrestle him a lot earlier this time and not take his foot off the gas with the wrestling.’ So you’re looking at that, but they all see Khamzat as that guy nobody could touch, nobody could beat, and I do think I could beat him.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie