Belal Muhammad to train in Dagestan for potential UFC title clash

Belal Muhammad is reportedly heading to Dagestan for training alongside UFC hall of famer Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team to prepare for his potential UFC welterweight title clash against Leon Edwards.

Known as the training ground for elite fighters like Nurmagomedov and current lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, Dagestan has produced a cadre of talents who have made a lasting impact on the MMA world.

Muhammad shares a close bond with Nurmagomedov in recent years due to their shared manager. He said he looked forward to receiving guidance from "The Eagle" and aimed to elevate his game by assimilating the smothering style of Dagestani wrestling into his already formidable grappling arsenal.

The late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khabib's father, is credited with establishing a highly effective training system in Dagestan that has produced numerous world-class fighters, including his son and Makhachev.

"I'm planning for sure to go to Dagestan and train with those guys," Muhammad said. "Those guys don't let you take any days off or any easy rounds. That's always perfect for me."

During his previous training stint with them, Muhammad secured a dominant finish. He plans to replicate that success this time around.

"A lot of their stuff that we do when we go live or we go hard is like we're working. Over here, I do a lot of specific drilling with my team, my guys here," said Muhammad, comparing his current training routine to that in Dagestan.

"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."

Redemption in potential rematch

The bad blood between Edwards and "Remember the Name" dates back to March 2021 when they headlined UFC Fight Night 187 at the UFC Apex facility in Enterprise, Nevada.

In the initial round, “Rocky” displayed superiority, but the contest took an unfortunate turn in the second frame. An accidental eye poke by Edwards left Muhammad unable to continue, resulting in the fight being halted and declared a No Contest.

Fast forward three years, Muhammad is confident in his growth since their initial bout and is optimistic that Edwards will be in for a surprise when they meet again.

"Honestly, I think it will really wake people up to how good I am," said Muhammad about the proposed rematch with Edwards. "Watching how much I've grown since that first fight, the different styles because I've leveled up so much.

Muhammad has been on a remarkable run in the promotion. The 35-year-old has remained undefeated in his last 10 UFC outings, securing victories over tough opponents like Demian Maia, Stephen Thompson, Vicente Luque, Sean Brady and Gilbert Burns.

Meanwhile, Edwards recently showcased his prowess in the octagon when facing Colby Covington for the welterweight championship at UFC 296. The 32-year-old dominated the majority of the fight, securing a unanimous decision victory with all three judges scoring the contest 49-46 in his favor.

Edwards is currently riding a 13-fight undefeated streak in the UFC, boasting victories over formidable opponents such as Kamaru Usman, Nate Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson, Donald Cerrone, Bryan Barberena and Vicente Luque.

Given the current momentum of both athletes, a rematch between Muhammad and Edwards appears inevitable. While no official announcements have been made, Edwards previously hinted that he will be putting his title on the line for the third time at UFC 300, scheduled for April 13.