In 2015, undefeated welterweight Belal Muhammad had one of his most productive years yet. In fights against Keith Jordan and Zane Kamaka, Muhammad picked up wins against fighters with more experience than him, and looked solid in each outing.
“I feel like my last fights showed that I’ve grown a lot,” Muhammad told MMAWeekly.com. “They were against strong opponents with really good records. I basically smoked them and made them not look as good as they are.”
Over the course of his first four years in the sport, Muhammad feels he’s been able to showcase a lot of his ability, but still believes there’s much more he can display.
“With this game there’s so much that you can do, so it’s hard to show everything you want,” said Muhammad. “There’s always something new that you can learn.
“I’m learning something every day in practice, and picking up things here and there that help my game. I’m starting to get comfortable in the cage to where I can go in there and let it loose.”
“He’s a good opponent with a good record, a good name, so I think that if I go in there and get the win, I’ll build my name off of his,” said Muhammad of Carl. “If I dominate him, people will look at me like I’m the next big thing coming up.
“He’s a good grappler and has a lot of heart and fights until the last second, so it’s my job to go in there and try to break him.”
For Muhammad, challenging veterans like Carl with a title on the line is just the kind of step he wants in order to build his career in a way that satisfies him.
“I don’t want to get in there and look like a bum when I fight somebody good,” Muhammad said. “When I’m in there I want to be ready to be ranked, be ready to compete with the number one guys – top-flight guys – that type of thing.
“I’ve seen so many times when somebody has like 20 wins, and if you look at their record, it’s against guys who are 1-3. There’s no point in fighting if you’re not going to test yourself and see how far you’ve come.”
Muhammad believes with a win over Carl, he could place himself in position to take another step up in his career and make 2016 his best year to date.
“I feel like I put on a good show for the crowd and get a finish here in a main event spot, that it will get me noticed by a lot of companies out there.”