Belal Muhammad won’t get the opponent he wanted, but he will still have an opportunity to break into the top 10 of the welterweight division when he takes on Demian Maia at UFC 263.
According to an ESPN report, Maia and Muhammad have verbally agreed to fight at the UFC 263 event to be held on June 12. The event is currently expected to be headlined by UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo facing Brandon Moreno in a rematch of their UFC 256 battle.
After losing to Gilbert Burns last year, Maia, then 42, said that his next fight would be his last. We have not heard the UFC or Maia address the subject since then, but if nothing has changed, that means the now-43-year-old Maia will have his farewell fight in June on a PPV card when he faces Belal Muhammad.
Prior to losing to Burns, though, Maia did string together three wins in a row. A victory over Muhammad would not only be a win over a ranked opponent but would have Maia as the victor of three of his last four fights. As it is, Maia is already ranked #8 in the division, so a victory here would inch him closer to returning to the division’s top 5. Under these circumstances, Maia may decide to pull the ol’ Brett Favre and have second thoughts on hanging it up.
Belal Muhammad has other ideas as he plans on sending Maia neatly into retirement by picking up a win here. Muhammad had hoped to run it back with Leon Edwards after an eye poke brought a premature end to their March 13 main event, but as Edwards prepares to face Nate Diaz, Muhammad braces to meet another veteran in submission ace Demian Maia.
With this bout added, the current UFC 263 lineup is as follows:
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
Demian Maia vs. Belal Muhammad
Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill
Joanne Calderwood vs. Lauren Murphy
Movsar Evloev vs. Hakeem Dawodu
Sijara Eubanks vs. Karol Rosa
Luigi Vendramini vs. Fares Ziam
Jake Collier vs. Carlos Felipe