Belal Muhammad’s reward for a nine-fight unbeaten streak won’t be a title shot but rather a matchup against one of the most ferocious and fast rising welterweights in the UFC.
Following the close of UFC 286 on Saturday night, UFC president Dana White addressed what’s next for Muhammad after he had been calling for a showdown with Colby Covington or perhaps getting a chance to settle some unfinished business with Leon Edwards after their first encounter ended in a no contest.
Instead, White revealed that the promotion is already working on Muhammad clashing with Shavkat Rakhmonov, who just recently dispatched Geoff Neal to improve his record to 17-0 including five straight wins in the UFC.
“What’s next for Belal? Rakhmonov — we’re working on it,” White said at the UFC 286 post-fight press conference.
Rakhmonov actually called for his own fight against Covington following his last win but instead it appears he’ll clash with Muhammad in a battle between two welterweights on impressive streaks in the division.
The 28-year-old fighter has looked nothing short of unstoppable since joining the UFC roster with all five of his wins ending by submission or knockout with only his fight against Neal making it past the second round.
As for Muhammad, he was hoping to build on his long winning streak by facing Edwards again after he accepted a short notice fight against the future UFC champion back in 2021. Their fight ended after Muhammad was unable to continue following an eye poke from Edwards in the second round.
No rematch was ever scheduled.
While Muhammad and Rakhmonov now appear headed on a collision course, White has also stated that Covington will be the person to get the next shot at Edwards and the welterweight title, although no date has been confirmed for the proposed matchup yet.