‘He has that Conor McGregor X-factor stardom… everyone thinks he is untouchable’: Belal Muhammad wants to fight fearsome rising star Khamzat Chimaev and ‘steal his hype’
- Khamzat Chimaev is searching for his next fight having made a rapid rise
- He is regarded by many as the next legitimate threat to Kamaru Usman’s title
- Belal Muhammad wants to take on Cechen-born star to steal his hype
- He does not believe the grappling sensation is as unbeatable as people say
Belal Muhammad wants to fight Khamzat Chimaev and ‘steal his hype’because UFC president Dana White ‘thinks he’s untouchable’.
The Cechen-born Swede has made a meteoric rise in the organisation and remains unbeaten, having dominated everyone put in the octagon with him.
Britain’s Leon Edwards accepted a fight with Chimaev last year before Covid intervened but many of his peers are shying away from the 27-year-old.
Belal Muhammad wants to take on the challenge and steal Khamzat Chimaev’s hype
Chimaev (right) defeated No 11-ranked welterweight Li Jingliang back in October
Muhammad, who just defeated Steven ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson at welterweight, is willing to take on the formidable wrestler.
He told MMA Junkie: ‘He has the most hype in the division right now. He has that (Conor) McGregor X-factor stardom right now, where the fans think he’s untouchable. The boss thinks he’s untouchable.
‘They all think it’s just a matter of time before he becomes champion. So for me, if I beat him, I steal all of his hype, and I think it’s worth more than beating anybody ranked in the division.
‘Beating him is probably worth more than beating Colby Covington just because of all the hype he has right now.’
Muhammad just came off a hugely impressive win over Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson
Muhammad believes a win against Chimaev would automatically lead to a title shot.
He added: ‘Stylistically-wise, I think I match up very well with him. He has a very similar style to Usman, so I beat him, I just show that I belong in there with a guy like Usman and I’m the next guy that should be fighting this fight.’
While the 33-year-old Chicago fighter accepts that Chimaev has earned plenty of the praise coming his way, he thinks the hype is somewhat overblown because he is yet to face a top contender.
Muhammad has not lost in almost three years so is due another big name next
He added: ‘I think he is good, I just don’t think that he’s this untouchable boogieman, the candyman that nobody wants to say his name type of guy. I just fought a guy, ‘Wonderboy,’ who a lot of guys turn down.’
Muhammad has not lost since the start of 2019 and although the vast majority of his wins have come by decision, he is well placed to fight a big name next year.
Chimaev has shown a willingness to fight anyone so there is a good chance he will accept the call-out, unless the UFC have other plans for him.