Friday, December 2, 2022

Mokaev Names Two Top Flyweights Who’ll Never Fight Him

UFC flyweight prospect Muhammad Mokaev is certain that two contenders will look to avoid sharing the Octagon with him having experienced his talents firsthand.

Mokaev signed with the MMA leader late last year with lofty ambitions, even publicly expressing his desire to break Jon Jones’ record by becoming the youngest-ever UFC champion. In two fights, the Dagestani-born Brit has certainly done no damage to that goal.

At UFC London in March, “The Punisher” debuted in style, flooring Cody Durden with a flying knee before submitting him via guillotine choke after just 58 seconds. In his sophomore outing four months later, once again held in England’s capital, Mokaev showed more wrinkles to his game with a mature three-round display against Charles Johnson.

Having extended his perfect professional record to 7-0, which is preceded by an unblemished 22-0 amateur slate, the two-time IMMAF world champion will be looking for his third victory of the year next weekend when he meets Malcolm Gordon at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.

Ahead of his October 22 contest versus the Canadian veteran, Mokaev has been training at the American Top Team gym in Coconut Creek, Florida. There, the 22-year-old has had the chance to go toe-to-toe with some of the elite in his division.

And according to Mokaev, his arrival at the renowned facility may have eliminated a couple of names from his list of future opponents…

Mokaev Expects Two Ranked FWs To Steer Clear

During a Q&A at a sponsorship event in the UAE last week, Mokaev discussed his rise up the ladder, which has already seen him call out ranked flyweights like David Dvorak and Kai Kara-France.

But while he’s planning on similar ambitious callouts following a victory in Abu Dhabi, Mokaev believes at least two potential targets won’t be down to scrap — ATT’s Alexandre Pantoja, the #2-ranked contender, and Sumudaerji, who currently occupies the #13 spot.

“Now I have two opponents in top 15 who probably won’t fight me,” Mokaev said. “Because they know what I’m about – I’m not just some young kid on the hype. It’ll be difficult, but I’m just going to call out big names after this fight. I already did. But after I get this victory, they can’t run anymore.” (h/t The National)

While many believe that Pantoja earned a shot at gold with his most recent win, which saw him rapidly submit one-time title challenger Alex Perez at UFC 277, “The Tibetan Eagle” is coming off a loss to Matt Schnell. Before that, he’d won three straight against unranked opposition, including a knockout of Mokaev’s upcoming opponent.

Should “The Punisher” deliver another impressive performance at UFC 280, and perhaps a suplex or two, he’ll certainly move a significant step closer to having a number next to his name, where ATT training partner Sumudaerji will enter his pool of possible opponents — or not, should Mokaev’s latest remarks prove to be true.

How high do you think Muhammad Mokaev’s ceiling is in the UFC?