Muhammad Mokaev reveals why he turned down Dana White's Contender Series

  • Tom Ward
Muhammaed Mokaev

Muhammad Mokaev has explained why he turned down the opportunity to appear on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Aptly named ‘The Punisher’, the two-time IMMAF junior world champion has largely picked up where he left off in the amateur ranks, having stopped two of his previous three opponents. 

While Mokaev (4-0) is still at the early stages of his career, there’s no doubting his place among the biggest MMA prospects in Europe.

Training out of Manchester Top Team in Salford under coach Oleg Druzhynets, Mokaev made a name for himself on the regional circuit last year, winning four times during the pandemic – and in exciting bouts.  

With such an entertaining style, it’s no wonder that the UFC approached him and offered him a spot on Dana White’s Contender Series.

However, the youngster has explained why he decided not to accept their offer. 

“There’s UFC London in August, but I’ve been offered [the chance to appear on Dana White’s] Contender Series before the fight with Abdul Hussein, but I’m one of the fighters that wants to go straight to the UFC,” Mokaev said to MMA Junkie. “I don’t want Contenders. I believe I sell more pay-per-views or maybe most views, most hyped-up fight for the UFC in the U.K.

“I don’t know who’s gonna be on that card, but I believe I beat all the records for that, and if the tickets are on sale, I’ll sell all the tickets in the arena.

“I believe this one-hundred percent.

“I don’t need to go through the Contender Series to let people know about me.

“I deserve straight road to the UFC.”

Muhammad Mokaev

The Dagestan-born British-based fighter has been drawing comparisons to former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov since he first burst onto the scene with Brave CF in 2020. 

Mokaev was 9 years old when Nurmagomedov made his UFC debut at UFC on FX 1 at the age of 23. Now the talented youngster is being touted as Nurmagomedov’s successor as the sport’s biggest star.

The 20-year-old has his own ambitions of one day becoming one of the greatest fighters of all-time and wants to test himself against some of the very best fighters in the world on a regular basis as he prepares to make the jump to the big leagues. 

“To be honest, I asked Brave to fight two guys from Kazakhstan,” he added. “One of them actually fought on [UFC] Fight Nights in Russia, he’s not bad.

“One of them 12-1 and another guy is 13-0 and none of them were ready to fight on that date.

“I’m not sure if they’re not ready for the date or ready to fight me, but of course when you have such a big record like 13-0 and 12-0, nobody wants to fight at that stage.”

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However, Mokaev insists he is in no rush as he wants to avoid the same fate that befell some of his predecessors like Ben Askren. 

He continued: “They just want to jump in the UFC and then they get exposed so I don’t want to be one of the guys like Ben Askren and that’s why I want challenges now.

“Of course now I’m at that stage where I can’t fight someone below me.

“That would be worse than actually not fighting.

“I’d rather not fight than fight someone ranked below me.”

Read more: Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez in the works for UFC Fight Night 191 on July 17

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