Muhammad Mokaev is not looking to waste any time now that he’s a UFC fighter.
Mokaev (5-0), a two-time IMMAF junior world champion and a two-time European champion, signed with the UFC earlier this week and is currently the youngest active fighter on the roster.
The Dagestan-born, British-based sensation is unbeaten as both an amateur and pro MMA fighter and has big aspirations for his career.
“I’m really excited, but this is not my final destination,” Mokaev told MMA Junkie on signing with the UFC. “This is part of my journey to become the greatest so my dream is to become the youngest UFC champion. I’m excited but at the same time, it’s not my final destination.”
Mokaev has around two years to fulfill his goal of becoming the youngest champion in UFC history, which is currently held by Jon Jones at 23 years of age. By the end of next year, the 21-year-old sees himself as a serious player in the 125-pound division.
“Top five and be a contender for the title fight,” Mokaev said on his goals for 2022.
Looking to make his promotional debut in the UFC’s rumored London card in March, Mokaev, who just became a British citizen, explains why it would be a special moment to fight on home soil.
“I want to get on this card because first time in my life I watched UFC London in 2016,” Mokaev said. “My friend Rustam Khabilov was fighting on that card, and I went there and was like, ‘Wow, this arena is nice, I want to be here.’ It was O2 Arena and my friend got me a ticket there. I was competing in the morning in Wigan in a wrestling tournament and then at night time I went to London to watch UFC so this is something good for my background story. I want to be there if any opponent wants this hype, I’ll give it to them.”
On top of his hit list is Cody Durden (12-3-1 MMA, 1-1-1 UFC), who received plenty of backlash for his post-fight comments following his win over Aori Qileng at UFC Fight Night 198 on Saturday.
“I knew he was gonna be tough, but I had to send him back to China where he came from,” Durden told Daniel Cormier during his post-fight interview.
Mokaev wasn’t a fan of Durden’s comments and would be more than happy to make him pay for his words.
“He apologized, but it’s wrong,” Mokaev said. “You cannot be like I’ll send him back (to China), this is the wrong mentality. He isn’t the greatest, he had four fights in the UFC and he’s old as well, 29 years old, whatever. I’m gonna make him retire and send him to America. I don’t find this as racism, it is in a kind of way, but this guy talks too much. Let me smash him for my UFC debut and when I ask my fans, my supporters said let’s go. If they want to see this, I will show them.”
Mokaev acknowledges that the UFC’s flyweight division has some talented fighters, but he believes his mindset is what will separate him from the rest.
“It’s not that they can throw a one-two better than me or they have special takedown defense or attack or some special triangle I have never seen in my life,” Mokaev said. “Everybody knows everything at this level. It’s about mentality. Like I said, I come from a tough background, so it’s about mentality. Who wants it more, who’s gonna push it when hard times are gonna knock and when there’s difficulties in weight cut, and which injuries are gonna get in your head.
“There are many factors that make a champion. Not just that he’s a better striker or he’s a better grappler. It’s way deeper than this. I would say there are some opponents I fought if I grappled them in the gym, that might be better than me, but in a fight, the mentality I have, nobody can beat.”
He continued, “I believe I have a higher fight IQ than most of the flyweights.”
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