'I don't care, I'm not Muslim' - Gilbert Burns warns Belal Muhammad to stop making Ramadan excuse to fight at middleweight at UFC 288

Gilbert Burns was adamant in wanting to fight at welterweight but Belal Muhammad is now asking to fight at middleweight.

Rohit Kumar
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Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad (Source - Twitter)

Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad (Source - Twitter)

Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad, two UFC welterweight contenders, will square off in the UFC 288 co-main event in a crucial contest on May 6. After a six-month break following his victory over Sean Brady at UFC 280 in October of last year, Muhammad is back. During his current winning streak, he has defeated opponents like Stephen Thompson and Vicente Luque.

Muhammad has been requesting a title shot for several months, and with a last-minute victory over Burns, he will probably get his wish. Burns will complete the short turnaround after defeating Jorge Masvidal at UFC 287 a few weeks ago. So far in 2023, he has won back-to-back fights, including one against Neil Magny at UFC 283. Burns explained his opposition to competing at middleweight. Belal Muhammad was advised not to use Ramadan as a justification

"He asked for 185 and like I said, I changed a lot of habits, I used to go to 200-205 after camp, now I'm staying 187-188 walking around and this guy now wants to go to middleweight like, I get it, you're Muslim, you're doing Ramadan but on the same way, I don't care, I'm not Muslim. You do whatever you want you know. I respect, it's not that I'm talking sh*t, you do whatever you have to do but don't ask for an excuse." Burns was quoted as saying by Sportskeeda.

Who will get the title shot?

After losing to Kamaru Usman at UFC 258, Burns is seeking his second chance at the UFC championship. Since then, he has recovered, with his only setback being a razor-thin defeat to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273. One of the few non-title five-rounders in UFC pay-per-view history, the bout will be a five-round co-headliner. Burns and Muhammad are vying for the opportunity to face the winner of the anticipated Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington showdown, and the stakes are high.

Top Lightweight contenders Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush's intended co-main event matchup at UFC 288 was canceled when "Do Bronx" sustained an injury. When asked about the news at UFC Kansas City over the weekend, UFC President Dana White responded almost away, saying that a new fight was being planned for the show.