Dubbed the 'British Khabib', but carving out his own legacy; introducing rising MMA superstar Muhammad Mokaev who's determined to break Jon Jones' long-standing record for youngest UFC champion.
Aged just 21, Mokaev is aiming high as he's already plotting his assault at UFC gold having made just one appearance inside the famed Octagon.
Crazy, 21 years old, 1 fight ufc and already the boogie man. Everyone has turned down fighting me 🤦🏻♂️ @ufc— Muhammad Mokaev (@muhammadmokaev) April 12, 2022
Mokaev, who arrived in the UK as a refuge, has experienced a difficult and modest upbringing. He now calls Manchester home after leaving Dagestan, where he picked up his high-level wrestling calibre. He's since honed his skills in the north west of England, rising through the ranks.
He racked up six victories before alerting the UFC, who acquired his talents ahead of the promotion's anticipated return to London.
Mokaev needed just 58 seconds to record his first UFC win, destroying Cody Durden in sensational fashion that put the UFC flyweight division on notice.
He sunk in a guillotine choke and earned a $50,000 post-fight bonus for his troubles. Or lack of.
On his statement performance and collecting a huge bonus, he told SPORTbible: "I think it's more changed for my family life than me. I'm still the same, I'm still training. And it's just more relaxing for my head and for the family I know they sorted for amount of period of time."
Mokaev isn't yet ranked in the UFC flyweight division, but he has his eyes on champion Deiveson Figueiredo and believes he's two wins away from challenging the Brazilian title holder.
Asked about his route to UFC gold, he said: "Two fights, I think. I believe so. I believe it's possible.
"I had six professional fights last year in Covid times. It was difficult to travel. Six professional fights in one year. it's very hard. It's about fighting, about making weight and I still done it. And I'm in UFC. Now I'm going to prove this same here."
Figueiredo regained the UFC flyweight title after out-pointing Brandon Moreno at UFC 270.
Despite his impressive, hard-fought win - Mokaev isn't impressed and even revealed that he's exchanged DMs with the UFC champion.
"He's okay man. Me and him had an argument. I told him I'm coming and sent him a DM I said 'listen, I'm coming,'" he added.
"I know it sounds strange. I have too much confidence in my head. Not because I'm not realistic. It's realistic. Why not?
"The guy's has two arms, two legs, same body. He trains the same as me - jab, backhand, low kick, take down.
"It's all about mentality. If you turn up on the fight night with the strong mentality that I had at UFC London. I think that's what causes better performances and how strong you are mentally. That's what's gonna make you a champion."
So, what did Mokaev and Figueiredo message each other? Well, he didn't divulge the details - but hilariously says it got bilingual.
"It was DMs. He sent me something in Brazilian and I didn't understand so I sent something in Russian and English," he explains.
But, before Mokaev gets his hands on Figueiredo, he'll need to take out some of the division's best in order to earn his shot.
He'll likely showcase more of his skills following his blistering debut. In particular, his famed wrestling which he molded in Dagestan.
Comparisons with UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov have been inevitable, with fans coining the nickname the 'British Khabib' - but Mokaev has his own story to tell.
"No, I have another history. I have a different story behind me. This is a huge difference between me and him. And when I put more results on my career you'll understand why."
He also recalls his conversation with fellow rising UFC phenom Khamzat Chimaev, who told him to turn professional during his amateur days.
"Yes, I spoke to him," he added. "I remember in 2018, I was watching him on Brave organisation in Bahrain and then he's like, when I won my last amateur fight, he sent me a voice message. It was 2020 before he joined UFC, he told me: 'Stop doing this amateur let's go professional.'"
As for Mokaev's next Octagon appearance, he's eyeing a showdown on a potential UFC event in Manchester - saying he'd rather fight in his hometown rather than Las Vegas.
"If they announce UFC Manchester before like August or September. I don't need Vegas. I'll fight in Manchester."
Mokaev has lofty ambitions and a good head on his shoulders as he manifests his UFC goals. He has the MMA world at his feet and is hellbent on making UFC history. Remember the name, Muhammad Mokaev.
Featured Image Credit: Muhammad Mokaev/PA
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