True or false? Henry Cejudo claims Belal Muhammad is ‘the closest person to a guy like Khabib Nurmagomedov’
There’s nobody in combat sports who possesses the same exact dominant fighting style of Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Henry Cejudo believes streaking UFC welterweight contender Belal Muhammad could be a close second.
Muhammad, who is on the cusp of finally cashing in on his first-ever UFC title shot, has looked downright unstoppable of late. The veteran fighter is 9-0 (1 NC) in his last 10 Octagon appearances, which includes victories over the likes of Stephen Thompson, Gilbert Burns, Vicente Luque, and Sean Brady. The only person to give Muhammad an issue during that span was current UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards, but their 2021 matchup ended in a no contest due to an accidental eye poke by “Rocky.”
It’s hard to find a fighter in today’s sport who encompasses the same type of relentless wrestling, long-lasting cardio, and elite level changing that Nurmagomedov did, but Muhammad may be closer than some think. Just ask Cejudo — a former Olympic gold medalist and two-division UFC champion — who is regarded as one of the best wrestlers to ever step foot inside of the Octagon.
“It’s going to be a great, competitive fight,” said Cejudo on his YouTube channel when discussing a potential rematch between Muhammad and Edwards. “Stylistically, the way that Belal Muhammad – what he did to Gilbert Burns and how he did it to him, he’s only gotten better. I will say this: The closest person to a guy like Khabib Nurmagomedov, his name is actually Belal Muhammad. They do the same kind of cross steps. They kind of run and shoot. They do the same kind of feints with that lead hand to eventually level change for the takedown.”
Of course, Nurmagomedov produced an undefeated professional record of 29-0 and had four title fight wins to his name before he stepped away from UFC. Muhammad has a lot of catching up to do, but if he stays the course he could end 2024 as UFC’s undisputed welterweight king.
“I’m going to have to go back and rewatch their fight the first time and see how that actually went,” Cejudo said of Muhammad’s first clash with Edwards. “I will say this: They both have gotten better, but if there’s one person that I would say that has evolved more than the other, his name is Belal Muhammad. He’s just gotten so, so freaking much better. He’s a freestyle fighter.
“It’s not like he has this crazy, swift technique like Leon or beautiful knees up the middle or front kicks that are extremely dangerous. What he does know how to do is mix his damn fighting. He knows how to level change at the right time. He knows when to bait you to eventually go in for a takedown. He knows when to press and when someone is fatigued and tired, like he did to Sean Brady.”
Do you agree? Does Muhammad’s current skill set compare to Khabib’s unstoppable style?
Let us know!