Belal Muhammed wanted to fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 280. Things didn’t pan out that way but the American, who is of Palestinian descent, wanted but he did end up getting a spot on the card.
Him and Chimaev had a very cordial exchange on Twitter in which they both agreed to face each other in Abu Dhabi in October. The Swedish star’s only condition was that Muhammed did not fight under the Palestinian flag.
The UFC appears to have banned flags so Chimaev needn’t have worried but there seemed to be a mutual respect between the two men:
Respect bro ..Il bring a flag for you too and we both fight FOR Palestine.. I can’t bring the flag down to battlefield anymore even if I wanted to. But…
دمي فلسطيني 🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) June 9, 2022
But Muhammed, who will be taking on the undefeated Sean Brady in Abu Dhabi on October 22nd, says relations between him and Chimaev have thawed. He accuses the undefeated Swedish star of ghosting him,
“Chiamev lied to me, he told me he was going to meet me, he didn’t hit me up, he didn’t answer my calls.”
The 34 year old is so upset about being given the cold shoulder by Chimaev that he wants to help Nate Diaz prepare for his fight with him,
“I’m Team Diaz, Nate if you like I’ll come out there and help you train,” he said at the UFC 280 press conference.
Diaz is fighting Chimaev at UFC 279 and Muhammed knows who he will be cheering for,
“Who’s not a Nate Diaz fan? I’m Team Diaz and I’m hoping that he ruins the party.”
Diaz is a massive underdog for that fight which will headline UFC 279. But Chimaev thinks that the TUF 5 winner has a chance of winning,
“I give Nate a chance in every fight. Like he said he’s never lost a fight, time just kept running out. We saw Chimaev in that last fight get a little bit tired (but) Nate’s a five round fighter and he’s a guy that you beat him up for the first three or four rounds and all of a sudden he ends up surprising you in the fifth round.”
While everyone knows that Muhammed wanted to fight Chimaev he has been forced to settle for a fight with Sean Brady. His opponent is ranked at #9 and he says he is ‘hungry’ for what would be the 13th win of his UFC career,
“When you got to a drive through and you try to order Khamzat but you end up getting Sean Brady… I’m still going to eat the meal, I’m still hungry, I’m still trying to fight the best guys in the division, to beat the best guys in the division.”
With Brady ranked below him this isn’t the sort of title eliminator that Muhammed had in mind but he accepts that in order to be a champion you have to be willing to face anyone and everyone,
“If I’m going to be the champion I have to beat all the guys in front of me. He thinks he’s the best, I think I’m the best. I want to fight the toughest guys out there.”
He probably spent more time at the UFC 280 press conference, which took place in London, talking about Chimaev than Brady. But Muhammed claims he is happy to be involved in ‘an exciting fight’,
“It’s an exciting fight, I’m happy for it.”