In fact, Brady believes that Muhammad absolutely deserves the opportunity to become UFC welterweight champion with all signs pointing towards an eventual showdown with Leon Edwards. Muhammad has been rather vocal calling for the title shot, although the UFC has yet to make any official announcement regarding his future or what comes next for Edwards as champion.
“Belal’s good,” Brady said on Joe Rogan’s podcast. “I know I can beat Belal but I’m happy for him. He went on, he beat Gilbert [Burns], he’s going to fight for the belt next. They haven’t announced it but there’s nobody else. He deserves it. He’s beaten the most guys in the top 10. He deserves it.”
Undefeated in 10 consecutive fights including wins over Brady, Burns, Vicente Luque and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, Muhammad appears to be the clear cut No. 1 contender in the division.
Add to that, Muhammad faced Edwards previously but the bout ended after a nasty eye poke from the future welterweight champion stopped the fight. Muhammad continued his run after missing out on a potential rematch but he’s obviously hoping that will still happen — this time with the UFC welterweight title on the line.
“I think he has a good chance of doing really well,” Brady said about Muhammad facing Edwards. “It’s there for him. He deserves it and he should get it and I’m happy for him. I don’t know why he gets so much hate. He’s not a bad dude. He trains f****** hard. He gets a lot of hate but I’m happy for him. That’s going to be a good fight.”
Looking back on that matchup from 2022, Brady admits that there were a number of issues plaguing him in the days leading up to the fight but that’s also just how the sport goes sometimes.
Brady didn’t get dominated but Muhammad ultimately started connecting with a series of punches on the feet, which led to a second-round standing knockout.
“It sucked,” Brady said about the fight. “I thought it was going to be the worst thing that ever happened to me. Going into that, I just didn’t feel right. First time I’ve ever left the country, like I’ve never been outside the United States. We travel there, all my coaches are getting sick. They’re all super jetlagged. All week I kept having these thoughts like ‘I’m going to lose this f****** fight.’ Usually you have those thoughts but I couldn’t flip my mind back to ‘you’re going to win this s***.’
“You always have doubts but I was having dreams that I was going to lose. I can’t get this out of my head. I told my wife the day before [the fight], I had a dream last night that I lost.”
It was a tough pill to swallow but Brady says the loss ended up serving a higher purpose.
Afterwards, Brady felt like a weight had been lifted off him and he could just get back to the business of fighting rather than being all consumed by his undefeated record.
“Being undefeated, it gets tied to you,” Brady explained. “Everyone sees you. They’re like ‘you’re going to f****** be the champion, you’re going to stay undefeated.’ Then you’re like damn, I’m not even fighting to win this fight, I’m just fighting to stay undefeated, if that makes sense. Like I can’t lose this record.
“In the fight, the first round it was super competitive. I went back and watched it and I did a lot better than I thought I did. Then in the second, I got clipped and I was there the entire time but I just couldn’t throw. I just kind of quit. I just didn’t know what to do in that moment. That’s the only time I’ve ever quit on myself.”
Since that loss, Brady bounced back with a third-round submission win over Kelvin Gastelum this past December. He’s now expected to clash with Vicente Luque in the main event for the upcoming UFC Atlantic City card on March 30.
Perhaps one day, Brady will get the chance to revisit the fight with Muhammad but he’s had enough time now to realize just how much that loss changed him for the better.
“It’s the best thing to ever happen to me,” Brady said. “The minute I lost, it felt like a f******* Bronco was lifted off my shoulders.”