Shavkat Rakhmonov wants title shot with UFC 296 win, but admits: “Belal Muhammad also deserves”

By Josh Evanoff - December 8, 2023

Shavkat Rakhmonov believes that either he or Belal Muhammad is likely next for a UFC welterweight title shot.

Belal Muhammad and Shavkat Rahmonov

‘Nomad’ has been out of the cage since a submission win over Geoff Neal in March at UFC 285. That victory put the welterweight to a perfect 16-0 in his MMA career. Now, Shavkat Rakhmonov will return to the cage later this month to face Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. The Karate-based fighter is coming off a knockout win over Kevin Holland last December.

For his part, Shavkat Rakhmonov discussed the UFC 296 bout in a recent interview with Morning Kombat. There, he admitted that while hopes to score a title shot with a win, Belal Muhammad might derail that potential title bid. ‘Remember the Name’ hasn’t been seen since a decision win over Gilbert Burns earlier this year.

Belal Muhammad’s win over the Brazilian earlier this year was labeled a ‘title eliminator’ going in. However, he was later passed up by Colby Covington for a title shot, and ‘Chaos’ will face Leon Edwards later this month. With that in mind, Shavkat Rakhmonov believes that Muhammad deserves a title shot. However, he also has his own title ambitions as well.

In the interview, Shavkat Rakhmonov also added a prediction for the main event of UFC 296. In the interview, he seemingly predicted that ‘Rocky’ would emerge with a win over Colby Covington. That, combined with his title shot comments, has to make one wonder if he already is envisioning a fight with the Brit.


Shavkat Rakhmonov

(via Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“I don’t know, they’re both good fighters.” Shavkat Rakhmonov stated in a recent interview with Morning Kombat when asked for a prediction for the UFC 296 main event between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington. “I think the advantage is the champion. He’s a champion, not for no reason. We’ll see if Colby is the next ultimate [fighting champion].”

He continued, responding to a question about a title shot with a win at UFC 265, “I don’t know [if I’ll get it]. It depends on what the UFC says. But I think that Belal Muhammad also deserves the title shot. As I know, he will back up this fight. But of course, I’m ready [for a title shot in the future].”

As of now, Belal Muhammad isn’t scheduled for his return. Following the win over Gilbert Burns earlier this year, the welterweight contender stated that he wouldn’t fight until it was for a title. Based on his current hiatus, it appears that he’s sticking to his word.

However, Dana White and the company haven’t made any definitive plans for the division beyond UFC 296. It’s more than possible for Shavkat Rakmonov to pass Muhammad. However, first, he must get through ‘Wonderboy’ in his return later this month.

What do you make of these comments? Who do you think deserves the next UFC welterweight title shot? Shavkat Rakhmonov or Belal Muhammad?


Belal Muhammad Shavkat Rakhmonov UFC