January 6, 2024 8:30 pm ET
Belal Muhammad will head across the world ahead of his potential UFC title fight vs. Leon Edwards and hopes to pick the brains of one of the all-time greats.
It won’t be the first time, but Muhammad (23-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) will travel to Dagestan to get work in with notables from the region. He hopes to once again get advice from Khabib Nurmagomedov, whom he’s become close with over the years as the two share the same manager.
“I’m planning for sure to go to Dagestan and train with those guys, like you said, to get a new look, to get different feels,” Muhammad recently told MMA Junkie Radio. “Those guys don’t let you take any days off or any easy rounds. That’s always perfect for me. Last time I trained with those guys, we got a dominant finish and I plan to do the same thing.”
When asked if Nurmagomedov has ever led him astray, Muhammad said never. He takes the advice given to him by “The Eagle” as invaluable, a great compliment to the unique training environment Nurmagomedov has established in his team’s training sessions.
“A lot of their stuff that we do when we go live or we go hard is like we’re working,” Muhammad said. “Over here, I do a lot of specific drilling with my team, my guys here. When it’s over there, I’ve got to be ready to go. I’ve got to be ready to be in shape. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. A lot of these guys, they’re not who I’m with every single day. So every round is a lot harder. Every round feels like it’s a new fight. I think that’s an advantage for me because with a lot of these fighters, you don’t get that uncomfortable feeling until you get to fight night where it’s like, ‘Alright, now it’s finally here. I’ve been thinking about this guy for a month.’ You’ve had looks, but you haven’t had the specific guy who’s in front of you right now.
“For me, when I’m over there with those guys, every single one of those guys is a beast and they all have their own style. Every round, you have that uncomfortable feeling of butterflies in your stomach. Here, when I go with my guys, my teammates, you know who’s a hard round. You know what they do. You see them every day. You know what they’re good at. You know what they’re not good at. It’s more of a calm feeling. But when you go with somebody new, somebody different, a new training partner, it gives you that ‘all right’ in your chest a little bit. It makes you go that much harder. It makes you go that much harder. It makes you get a little bit more tired. It makes you have to think more on your feet.”
Muhammad, 35, is thought by many to be the next likely title challenger for Edwards (22-3 MMA, 14-2 UFC), but nothing is set quite yet. UFC CEO Dana White said in May that Muhammad would be next but was noncommittal at the UFC 296 post-fight news conference in December.
In the weeks that have followed, rumors of a Muhammad title shot at UFC 300 have surfaced after Edwards said the bout was happening during a public appearance.
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