Muhammad Mokaev continued his rise up the UFC’s flyweight division with a third-round armbar finish of Malcolm Gordon at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, and said he’s still on track to reach his goal of becoming the UFC’s youngest ever champion.
Mokaev, 22, said he plans to capture championship gold in the UFC within the next two years to take the record currently held by Jon Jones, who won the UFC light heavyweight title at the age of 23 years, eight months.
Speaking after his victory over Gordon, he laid out his timeline for success.
“So, to be English UFC champion, that’s March 2024,” he stated.
“The end of March, like 29th or 30th of March. That’s what I’ve worked out.”
Mokaev arrived in the UFC as a hot prospect after going undefeated in a stellar amateur career that saw him capture multiple IMMAF titles.
Now the Dagestan-born fighter, who received his British citizenship earlier this year around the same time he signed his first UFC contract, is ready to climb all the way to the top of the 125-pound division.
His three wins in the octagon so far – against Cody Durden, Charles Johnson and Gordon – have come in the space of just seven months, and Mokaev said his rapid ascent will continue.
“I have plans, I work out every day and count the days,” he said.
“And I believe I will fight for the interim belt at the end of next year.
“Who has done three fights in six, seven months in the flyweight division? I only know one guy, that’s Rustam Khabilov, who has four fights in the UFC in one year (at lightweight), and he was in my corner.”
Mokaev’s performance was rewarded with his inclusion in the UFC’s updated flyweight rankings, where he currently sits 15th. And, with his life further enriched with the arrival of his first child earlier this year, Mokaev is targeting big things, including bouts higher up the fight card, for his upcoming fights.
“Of course, I want to fight a little bit higher on the card,” he said.
“But have you seen any other event that people tune in for the second fight like this, or like UFC London, where I fought Cody Durden in the first fight, and it’s still online on BT Sport. Have you seen how many people turned up at The O2 Arena? Have you seem this before in arenas? I haven’t seen it. So, the support I have today is like (the) main event.”
And while Mokaev has grand plans for his career in the years ahead, he said he has his first octagon appearance of 2023 already locked in – the UFC’s return to the UK for a pay-per-view event headlined by welterweight champion Leon Edwards’ trilogy bout with Kamaru Usman.
“I’m on this card already,” he said.