By Ross Patterson
Muhammad Mokaev will be representing TeamGB at the 2021 World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, this weekend. The IMMAF alumni is currently competing professionally in Brave FC, but has taken on the challenge of an international wrestling competition to stay active.
Mokaev is widely regarded as one of the hottest prospects in MMA. As the two-time IMMAF World Champion, two-time IMMAF European Champion, six-time British Wrestling Champion, two-time ADCC British Open gold medallist and one-time European Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu Champion – at just twenty-one years old, it’s easy to see why.
The young athlete is originally from Dagestan, but didn’t learn to wrestle in Russia. Instead, his skills were developed in the UK, at the Manchester Wrestling Academy under Oleg Druzhynets. His grappling prowess, undefeated MMA record (30-0 amateur, 4-0 professional) and Dagestani roots have led many to compare him to the UFC’s Khabib Numagomedov. However, Mokaev told the BBC:
“I want to be the first Muhammad Mokaev, not the second Khabib.”
It’s common for IMMAF athletes to compete across different martial arts. New Zealand’s Michelle Montague – the current Lightweight World Champion – is the two-time Oceana Wrestling Champion. She was also a member of the 2018 Commonwealth Games team and is an Olympic hopeful for freestyle wrestling.
In Spain, FELUCHA (Spanish Federation of Olympic Wrestling and Associated Disciplines) puts together the National MMA championships which serve as the gateway to the IMMAF European and World Championships. The sports of wrestling and MMA work together closely, and IMMAF is always excited to see both alumni and current athletes compete across disciplines.
It will be fascinating to watch Mokaev test his wrestling skills in Serbia. His participation is a testament to his commitment to the sport and his willingness to continue to hone his skills. Good luck, Muhammad.