UFC’s Muhammad Mokaev frustrated with ranked opponents turning him down
Muhammad Mokaev’s struggle to draw ranked opposition continues.
Undefeated Mokaev is off to a 4-0 start to his UFC tenure and has aspirations of becoming the youngest champion in UFC history. The 22-year-old, who suffered a partial MCL tear in his win over Jafel Filho this past March, is hoping to either land on the London card in July or UFC 292 on Aug. 19 in Boston.
Mokaev (10-0-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) has been active, but his inability to get a ranked flyweight has slowed down his pursuit of gold, which has frustrated him greatly.
“It’s very, very hard at the moment,” Mokaev said on the “Believe You Me” podcast. “When I wasn’t ranked, I beat Cody Durden in under 50 seconds and after that, I beat LFA champion Charles Johnson, Malcolm Gordon, Jafel Filho, who came out of Contender Series. These guys are older than me by 10 years. Now I’m ranked No. 12, and people don’t want to fight me, ranked guys. Now ranked guys are saying, ‘Go have one more fight,’ and then if I beat somebody else, they’re gonna say, ‘You’re still fighting unranked guys.’
Mokaev tried taking matters into his own hands my sending direct messages to Matt Schnell and Tim Elliott, who both have fights booked in June. Mokaev said both accepted if they come out of their fights unscathed, but he won’t count on it.
Mokaev has also publicly gone back-and-forth with Manel Kape and Brandon Royval, who’s currently the backup for the flyweight title fight between champion Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 290 on July 8.
“Manel Kape, for example, he didn’t accept a fight against me,” Mokaev said. “He’s ranked No. 9, he’s 3-2 in the UFC, but he said, ‘You’re not on my level.’ What can I do if these guys don’t want to fight me. How can I not be his level if he lost to all ranked guys.”
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When speaking about Royval, Mokaev compared their performances against common opponent Charles Johnson.
“Brandon Royval also said you’re not my level, but Charles Johnson actually went split decision against him,” Mokaev said. “I scored most takedowns in UFC flyweight history against Charles Johnson. It was 12 takedowns and I think 26 attempts, but Charles Johnson did eight takedowns on Brandon Royval. So, I believe I beat these guys, but they find some stupid excuse. If I’m that easy, if my cardio bad, my jiu-jitsu bad, why don’t you come and take a 34-fight winning streak hype away.”