London party

Muhammad Mokaev says after his first victory, Anthony Joshua and Donald Trump Jr. reached out

LONDON, England — After a thrilling release night at the O2 Arena in March that saw him finish Cody Durden inside a round, Muhammad Mokaev will make his encore performance at UFC London this Saturday.

Same city, same place, new opponent. That would be Charles Johnson, a former LFA flyweight champion whom Mokaev called “a decent striker” during UFC media day in London this week.

So what has changed for Mokaev (6-0, 1NC) since his debut in March?

“Lots of attention, but that’s why I went to American Top Team, America,” he explained. “I stayed in the gym, live without distractions, stay focused. Because my goal is not far away.

That attention even came from Wayne Rooney and Anthony Joshua. “It’s true, and Donald Trump Jr. too,” Mokaev added. This kind of recognition, “it’s normal,” Mokaev said. “When they’re legends, they see it’s not easy work and they respect up-and-coming fighters.”

Joshua in particular is someone Mokaev has something in common with: both had long amateur careers. This almost certainly contributed to their success, he believes.

After crushing Durden in March, Mokaev would have struggled to find an opponent for Saturday. With that in mind, he has a few fighters he’s ready to call with a win.

“Jeff Molina, ranked 15 now. Tim Elliott, I know Tim Elliott doesn’t turn down fights. The last time I called him, I didn’t know he had an opponent. Now he is free,” Mokaev said, listing his suggestions. “I am free for October. November, Madison Square Garden. Abu Dhabi, October. Whatever date he’s free, I’m free too. I think they are good opponents. Mokaev then added one more. “Matt Schnell, [who] just beat my good neighbor Su [Mudaerji].”

Watch Muhammad Mokaev’s full appearance at UFC London media day above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 23, 2022 at the O2 Arena in London, England.