Muhammad Mokaev may be undefeated in his MMA career, but he knows that fan support matters more than the numbers on his record.
The 21-year-old flyweight spoke to MMA Junkie during the lead up to his scheduled second UFC appearance today at UFC London. When asked if recent UFC judging controversies weigh on his mind at all, “The Punisher” appeared unconcerned.
“Even if it’s like, bad decision, I don’t take too much personal,” Mokaev said. “Because if fans know, if supporters know you won the fight, it doesn’t matter what’s on your record. Record doesn’t mean anything. You fight for your fans who want to support you, they support you in bad times too. So, it doesn’t affect me.”
Judging is a regular point of discussion in MMA, and the topic has made a lot of headlines this year. One example is from the UFC Vegas 55 event. The main card for that event featured 3 split-decisions, with Ketlen Vieira’s main event victory over Holly Holm attracting the most controversy.
While Mokaev acknowledged it wouldn’t be an ideal outcome, he does feel that opportunities could arise from coming out on the wrong end of a close fight.
“If it’s a bad decision it means it’s a good fight, you know? It’s a close fight, there’s a chance for rematch. It’s not like it’s the end of the story, you know? There’s advantages and disadvantages. Maybe for next fight, the purse is more, and I come to the fight more hungry. It’s life, you have to adapt.”
“The Punisher” made a successful UFC debut in March when he submitted Cody Durden in under a minute. The 21-year-old arrived as one of the most highly touted prospects in the history of the sport after he went 22-0 as an amateur fighter before turning pro in 2020.
Mokaev is set to make his second UFC appearance against Charles Johnson at UFC London later today, headlined by a heavyweight bout between Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall.
What do you think of Mokaev’s comments on judging controveries? Is the perception of fans more valuable to a fighter than the perception of the judges?