UFC welterweight contender Belal Muhammad isn’t buying Gilbert Burns’ take on the 170-pound rankings ladder.
Ahead of his fight with Neil Magny in Rio de Janeiro this week, Burns told the media, including The Mac Life, that he couldn’t understand how he could have been leapfrogged in the rankings by Belal Muhammad following his win against the previously unbeaten Sean Brady last year, and despite Muhammad not holding a win over him.
Burns made the comments after speaking of his frustration at being restricted to just one fight since the summer of 2021 — a tremendously exciting fight with Khamzat Chimaev in April of last year, and after saying that he chased fights with both Jorge Masvidal and Muhammad last year before electing to take an opportunity against the 12th-ranked Magny in his home country this weekend.
But responding to Burns’ claims, Muhammad says he knows full-well why he is ranked ahead of him: it is because he has better wins in his career.
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 (@bullyb170) January 18, 2023
“[It is] because you have one ranked win and I have four,” wrote Muhammad on Twitter. “And you begged for the Masvidal fight for the last seven months.”
Burns’ recent career has showed wins against well-regarded opposition such as Stephen Thompson, Tyson Woodley, Demian Maia and Gunnar Nelson against defeats to the likes of Chimaev and former champion Kamaru Usman. Muhammad, by comparison, was impressive in his TKO win against Sean Brady while also beating the likes of Thompson and Maia in recent fights.
Muhammad has been defeated just once, against Geoff Neal, dating back to 2017 and is currently in the midst of a nine-fight unbeaten streak.
But should Burns bypass Magny this weekend, it is difficult to see UFC matchmakers straying too far from the idea of trying to pair Burn and Muhammad together for a fight which could determine the next challenger for the winner of the presumed trilogy bout between champion Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman.