Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Belal “Remember The Name” Muhammad (born July 9, 1988) is an American mixed martial artist of Palestinian descent. Muhammad competes in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship where he is currently ranked #13 in the world. After compiling an undefeated 9-0 record, including two wins in Bellator, and a Titan FC welterweight championship belt, Muhammad was signed to the UFC in the summer of 2016. In his UFC debut, Belal Muhammad was awarded Fight of the Night honors versus Alan Jouban for their thrilling 3-round war at UFC Fight Night: dos Anjos vs Alvarez. Since entering the ultimate proving ground for mixed martial arts, Muhammad has gone 9-3 inside the octagon and earned himself a top 15 ranking in what is considered to be one of the most illustrious divisions in the sport. On March 13th, exactly one month removed from his February 13th victory over Dhiego Lima, Muhammad will compete in his first UFC main event as he faces off with #3 ranked welterweight fighter, Leon “Rocky” Edwards.
- Professional Record: 18-3 (4 KO/TKO’s, 1 Submission, 13 Decisions)
- Height: 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
- Reach: 72 in (183 cm)
- Weight: 170 lbs
- Age: 32
- Nickname: “Remember The Name”
- Current training camp: Chicago Fight Team, Valle Flow Striking Academy
- Fighting Style: Pressure grinder
- Recent fights: Dhiego Lima (W UD), Lyman Good (W UD), Takashi Sato (W Sub R3), Curtis Millender (W UD)
- UFC Accomplishments:
- Fight of the Night bonus (versus Alan Jouban)
- Performance of the Night bonus (versus Takashi Sato)
- Previous Career Accomplishments:
- Titan FC Welterweight Champion
- Undefeated in Bellator
Upcoming fight versus Leon Edwards:
On March 13th, Belal Muhammad will headline UFC Vegas 21: Edwards vs Muhammad as he faces off with #3 ranked welterweight contender Leon Edwards. Originally, Edwards was scheduled to meet rising star Khamzat Chimaev. Due to complications in his recovery from COVID-19, Chechnya’s Chimaev was pulled from the bout and replaced by Belal Muhammad. In what is most certainly considered to be the biggest step up in competition of Muhammad’s mixed martial arts campaign, “Remember The Name” must rise to the occasion and put on his best career performance to date in order to defeat British standout Leon Edwards.
Stylistically speaking, there are a variety of unique factors in play for the UFC Vegas 21 headliner. Firstly, Muhammad delivers nearly double the output as Edwards. According to UFC Stats, Muhammad lands 4.86 significant strikes per minute compared to Edwards’ 2.53 strikes landed per minute. On the flip side, however, Edwards only absorbs 2.05 strikes per minute as opposed to Muhammad’s 4.03 strikes absorbed per minute. Interestingly enough, Muhammad’s defense metrics are better than Edwards by 5%. Muhammad defends 60% of the strikes thrown at him, with Edwards defending at 55%. Both men have a striking accuracy near 50%.
As far as size is concerned, Edwards is 3 inches taller than Muhammad and will enjoy a 2 inch reach advantage. Although “Rocky” has been making definitive improvements in his wrestling, he will most likely look to keep Muhammad at range, and display the surgical straight shots that garnered the attention of UK fight fans when he won the BAMMA championship in his pre-UFC career. Nevertheless, it will not be too surprising if Edwards does his best ditch effort to show off more refined wrestling chops versus “Remember The Name.” For Muhammad, closing the distance and making Edwards work for every minute of the bout will be imperative.
In the grappling department, Muhammad averages slightly over 2 takedowns per fight with a respectable 84% takedown defense. Belal Muhammad has only given up two takedowns throughout his entire 12 fight UFC run. One to Judo wiz Takashi Sato, as well as another to seasoned veteran Jordan Mein. Neither Sato nor Mein were able to hold top position on Muhammad. Although fighters from the UK have historically been criticized for not possessing the same level of wrestling as their American counterparts, Leon Edwards is one of the few exceptions. Ever since his loss to welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in 2015, Edwards has taken down 7 of the 8 fighters on his current win streak. On the other side of the coin, Edwards has been taken down 11 times since the Usman fight, and 20 times overall in his UFC career. Despite giving up that many takedowns, Edwards still defends 70% of the takedowns attempted on him.
In his most recent wins versus Lyman Good and Dhiego Lima, Muhammad made significant strides in all areas of the game, but the ones that stood out the most are his feints and stance switching. Muhammad constantly keeps his opponents guessing with very clever misdirection into the pocket and unorthodox entries to his takedowns. In a recent appearance on his podcast “Remember The Show,” Muhammad stated he wants to emulate the striking output of Max Holloway with the addition of multiple takedown attempts throughout the fight.
The odds currently have Leon Edwards a -250 favorite with the comeback on Belal Muhammad at +200. It is understandable why Edwards is the favorite considering his ranking in the division, as well as his admirable 8 fight win streak which includes notable victories over former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and UFC legend Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. That being said, Muhammad is a very live underdog and will absolutely fight for your money. Another element of this fight that has created a lot of speculation is the fact that Leon Edwards hasn’t competed inside the octagon since July 2019. That’s almost two full years away from competition. Muhammad has fought and won 3 times since Leon Edwards’ last outing. I’m curious to see if Belal Muhammad disregards any sort of early feel-out process, and immediately pressures the Brit with his signature gritty manner of methodically breaking down his opponents from the second the bell rings.
I believe if Belal Muhammad stays true to his style which comprises of intelligent pressure, overwhelming volume, multiple takedown attempts, tricky feints, stance switching, and of course, a relentless work rate, he has all the tools necessary to give Leon Edwards a tough welcome back to the UFC octagon and spoil his championship aspirations.
Recent win versus Dhiego Lima
On February 13th, Belal Muhammad defeated Dhiego Lima at UFC 258: Usman vs Burns via unanimous decision. In a largely one-sided contest, Muhammad nearly doubled Lima up on strike output. The official count, according to UFC stats, had Muhammad out-striking Lima 136 to 70. Not only did Muhammad land more blows than any other competitor on the entire UFC 258 fight card, but he also topped his personal best 90 strikes landed when he faced Tim Means at UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs Tybura in November of 2017.
From the second the referee said “go,” Muhammad walked Lima down and as Conor McGregor used to say “landed every shot in the book.” It was almost like Muhammad couldn’t miss. Seemingly taking influence from Max Holloway’s legendary, record-breaking performance over Calvin Kattar in January, Muhammad brought a different kind of intensity and ferocity to his already frenetic pace fight fans are accustomed to.
The Judges Decision
While the judges unanimously scored the fight 30-27 for “Remember The Name,” UFC fans also bared witness to Muhammad’s insane mental fortitude. One commonality Dhiego Lima shares with his brother, Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima, is the ability to throw brutal calf kicks. Now regarded as one of the most debilitating weapons in all of MMA, the calf kick, which is not to be confused with traditional leg kicks, completely immobilizes opponents, and just takes a few to do the trick. The only downside of Muhammad’s non-stop forward pressure is his susceptibility to being hit. And that’s not to downplay Belal Muhammad’s defense at all, which is clearly on point. It’s more so to put emphasis on the risk and reward element of Belal Muhammad’s fighting style.
What I’m trying to say is, Belal is going to eat some shots from time to time. But look at how he handles those moments. Muhammad stayed so poised and focused on his mission, that he literally seemed undeterred by the ultra impactful calf kicks of Lima.
In his post-fight interview with UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping, Muhammad called out Chinese knockout artist Li Jingliang. Muhammad also expressed interest in facing the polarizing Nate Diaz. A few days later, Belal Muhammad received the call to replace Khamzat Chimaev in the main event at UFC Vegas 21 versus #3 ranked welterweight contender Leon “Rocky” Edwards. The rest, as they say, is history.
Where does Belal train?
Belal Muhammad trains at the Chicago Fight Team in Illinois under head coach Louis Taylor. Both Muhammad and Taylor share a long history in combat sports together. They originally met on the mats, where Taylor was the high school wrestling coach of a young teen named Belal Muhammad. Taylor, a former D1 wrestler himself, saw something special in Muhammad, and quickly took on a mentor role towards his pupil. Fast forward many years later, Muhammad and Taylor are still working together and hold an inseparable bond.
The definition of “selflessness” is: concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own. Belal Muhammad still claims that the happiest day of his life was when Louis Taylor won the PFL middleweight championship and the million-dollar prize. Louis “Put The Guns Down” Taylor knocked out Abus Magomedov in just 33 seconds to capture the PFL world title and 7-figure paycheck. Instantly following the win, Muhammad and Taylor shared a memorably emotional moment as Muhammad climbed over the PFL cage and quickly embraced his victorious “big brother.”
In addition to honing his skills with longtime coach Louis Taylor, Muhammad spends many hours of the weekly grind alongside Mike Valle of the Valle Flow Striking Academy. In the past, Muhammad used to train at the esteemed Roufusport gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, under kickboxing legend Duke Roufus. Muhammad is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt under 4th degree black belt Daniel Wanderley. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Muhammad has stayed solely in Chicago during preparations for his most recent fights.
Remember The Show
Belal Muhammad hosts a weekly podcast named “Remember The Show,” which can be seen live every Thursday on the Anik and Florian Podcast youtube channel. Separating himself from the pack, “Remember The Show” brings a fresh, game show feel to the MMA podcast space. Every week, Belal Muhammad and co-host Jason Anik, brother of UFC commentator Jon Anik, are joined by two to three UFC fighters and MMA personalities that compete on a variety of entertaining topics related to the sport including name scrambles, face mashes, and UFC trivia.
In a Jeopardy-like points system, the contestant with the highest score is deemed the “Remember The Show” Champion, and the loser is asked to post a funny tweet or do some form of hilarious challenge. So far, Muhammad and Anik have been joined alongside some of the biggest icons in the industry including Daniel Cormier, Michael Bisping, Dustin Poirier, and Henry Cejudo amongst others. With nothing but momentum on their side, Belal Muhammad and Jason Anik are slowly but surely on their way to becoming household names in MMA podcasting. All they have to do is stay consistent, keep improving, and the rest will take care of itself.
With Muhammad’s continued success inside the octagon and relatable personality outside, the sky is truly the limit on what this young man can accomplish. From a top 15 ranking to a golden opportunity that could change the whole trajectory of his professional career, 2021 promises to be a defining year for Belal “Remember The Name” Muhammad.