Shavkat Rakhmonov believes he deserves a title shot after his win against Stephen Thompson at UFC 296.
Rakhmonov secured a second-round submission victory against the former two-time welterweight title challenger, improving to 18-0 as a professional with a 100 percent finish rate.
In a post-fight interview, Rakhmonov gave Thompson due credit for being a tough opponent, before calling for a shot at the welterweight belt currently held by Leon Edwards, who defended it against Colby Covington in the UFC 296 headliner.
“Stephen Thompson is a very tough opponent,” Rakhmonov said. “I’m happy that I was able to finish him. I believe I’m worthy of a title shot. The winner of the title fight (at UFC 296), I’m ready to fight him.”
If Rakhmonov gets a title shot next, it would mean that Belal Muhammad, who is ranked higher than the Kazakh, might miss out once again.
Muhammad is on an impressive streak of nine victories in his last ten fights with one no-contest against the division’s reigning champ in 2021. Moreover, he served as a backup for the UFC 296 headliner, which automatically puts him in pole position to fight for the belt, considering Covington got his shot since he served as a backup fighter for Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman 2.
Belal also holds notable victories over Gilbert Burns as well as Thompson, and many think his resume carries more weight than Rakhmonov even after the latter’s big win on Saturday night.
Whether the promotion already had Muhammad lined up for the winner of Edwards vs Covington is uncertain.
While many wouldn’t complain if ‘Remember The Name’ were the next in line, Rakhmonov’s performance at UFC 296 makes it challenging to see it as a definite outcome.
Shavkat Rakhmonov or Belal Muhammad, who do you think deserves to fight for the welterweight title next?