A new force in the flyweight division is on its way as the UFC signed 21-year-old Muhammad Mokaev, an undefeated prospect fighting out of Manchester, England, by way of Dagestan. After a 23-0 amateur record that included back-to-back junior bantamweight titles at the IMMAF World Championships in 2018 and 2019. He turned pro in 2020 and accumulated four wins, three via finish, in his first year as a professional.
"Muhammad is a flyweight I had been keeping an eye on for quite some time,” UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard said. “He is very experienced at only 21 years old with almost 30 fights when you combine amateur and pro bouts. He is undefeated, dynamic and very charismatic. Mohammad sees himself as a flyweight Khabib. He is a perfect fit for this young, fun division."
Mokaev’s journey to mixed martial arts was a winding one. Mokaev and his father Murad fled Russia with no money and just a bag of clothes, and in the summer of 2012, they ended up at a refugee center in Liverpool for 28 days. From there, they were relocated to a home in Wigan.
After a while, Mokaev’s father bribed his son to go to the Wigan Youth Zone every day so he could keep him off the streets and with the wrong crowd. There, Mokaev was introduced to wrestling and went on to become the British champion in wrestling and the European champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Mokaev’s amateur success caught the attention of former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who encouraged Mokaev to keep up the success. Mokaev competed in Brave CF to start his professional career fighting at both bantamweight and flyweight, and he has aspirations to break Jon Jones’ record and become the youngest champion in the promotion’s history.
He has about two years to do it in the flourishing flyweight division, but his self-belief and track record to this point are positive developments in that pursuit.