By Caoilte de Barra
After winning his UFC debut in style, Muhammad Mokaev is set to return for the promotion’s second trip to London this year on July 23. His last outing saw him finish Cody Durden within a minute to earn a performance of the night bonus. This time around, he welcomes newcomer Charles Johnson to the Octagon.
Ahead of this second UFC outing, Mokaev moved to American Top Team for his training camp under the watchful eye of Dan Lambert and the coaching team. For his UFC debut, he trained in Bahrain at KHK Team and vows to return there if scheduled to compete in Abu Dhabi.
Not many athletes have such a spectacular debut as Mokaev did, and speaking at the UFC media day, he explained how he wants to showcase more of his skills in his upcoming bout.
“I want to show myself more. I had an amazing camp. This fight, I will try to show myself more so people don’t think it’s hype. They want to see my skills, those people that didn’t see me fighting on the BRAVE and IMMAF scenes.”
2021 IMMAF Young Journalists mentor Simon Head followed up by asking the four-time IMMAF gold medalist about carrying his amateur experience into the UFC.
“I don’t think you can compare this experience to anything else. A lot of MMA fighters are fighting nobodies, and they’d be like 10-0 when they face someone who had an amateur career. It’s like boxing, Anthony Joshua is doing good in his professional career because he competed in amateur a lot. Lomachecko competed in amateur. I think in MMA, you have to start somewhere before jumping to professional. The slower you build, the stronger you will be.”
Following his last victory, Mokaev had a call-out ready and has a few others in mind if he wins on Saturday.
“Jeff Molina – ranked 15 now. Tim Elliott, I know Tim Elliott doesn’t turn fights down. Last time I called him out, and I didn’t know he had an opponent.” He explained before suggesting some potential locations. “November in Madison Square Garden or Abu Dhabi in October. Whatever date he is free, I am free too. I think this is a good opponent. There’s Matt Schnell [too], who just beat my neighbour Su.”
Later in the question and answers session, Mokaev did not hesitate in his prediction for Saturday night, stating: “I believe round 2, finish. Take his soul out and finish him.”
The 21-year-old has previously stated he wants to be the youngest champion in the UFC, a record held by Jon Jones. And with his birthday nearing, Mokaev detailed when he expects to make history.
“It will be 2024, end of March. I think I will fight for the title in the UK.”