Belal Muhammed was not that happy about being matched with an opponent below him in the rankings at UFC 280. The welterweight, who is of Palestinian descent, wants to work his way towards a title shot.

He was handed a potential banana skin in the shape of Sean Brady at UFC 280. But the 34 year old showed no signs of slipping as he finished the fight late in the second round, picking up a $50,000 USD bonus in the process.

It was his second time fighting in Abu Dhabi and he hopes to be able to compete in the Middle East again,

“I gotta fight in Abu Dhabi more. Last time I fought here I got a big finish and now I got a big finish. The fans were electric and it puts me on another level when I get in there. This is one of those fights that’s going to live in my memory forever,” he told

Looking up

Muhammed was unhappy about being matched with the undefeated Brady because he wants a title shot. Beating opponents who are beneath him in the rankings is unlikely to earn him a shot at the belt.

But losing to an opponent ranked beneath him would have put an end to his title ambitions and Muhammed thinks he made his point in the best possible way,

“I had to prove myself a little bit more I’m on an eight fight winning streak and they are still making me fight downwards. I beat two top five guys last time, I’m hear to fight the best in the world.”

To prepare for this fight he enlisted the help of Khabib Nurmagomedov, a man who is no stranger to winning fights in Abu Dhabi. He could be hear yelling ‘he’s breaking’ to Muhammed during the fight and that turned out to be exactly what happened,

“When you have Khabib in in your corner you’ve got to listen to him,” Muhammed explains.

Levelling up

It was his first time training with the former lightweight champion and he wanted to ‘level up’ ahead of UFC 280,

“I feel like I’m the best version of myself. I had a great team in Chicago but I still needed to level up so I looked for the best camp out there and I joined Khabib’s team.”

He has unfinished business with newly crowned welterweight champion Leon Edwards. Their fight lasted a little over a round last year before being called off due to an unintentional eye poke.

Nothing to prove

He had previously called out Khamzat Chimaev but appears to have lost interest in that fight. Muhammed knows that Usman is next in line but is ready to step in if the former champion decides that the timing is not right,

“I definitely feel like I earned a title shot. Me and Leon have unfinished business. Obviously Usman deserves the rematch but if he’s going to take some time off let somebody else fight Leon. If they do fight each other I want to be on that card.”

Muhammed did not come into last weekend’s fight as the favourite. He proved the bookmakers wrong and believes he showed the UFC matchmakers exactly why he should be next in line for the title,

“Finishing a guy like that who was undefeated, who was the favourite. What else have I got to prove?”