Muhammad Mokaev is hoping to become the youngest champion in UFC history.
That distinction belongs to former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who won the title by finishing Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua at UFC 128 when he was 23 years old. Though Jones’ record remains intact, Mokaev says he can break it — and will do so within the next two years.
Following his third-round submission win over Malcolm Gordon at UFC 280 this past Saturday, the 22-year-old laid out his plan.
“To be the youngest UFC champion, that’s March 2024 — end of March,” said Mokaev (video provided by MMA Fighting). “The 29th or the 30th of March, that’s how I worked it out. I have plans. I work out every day and count the days. I believe I will fight for the interim belt [by] the end of next year.
“Who has done three fights in six or seven months in the flyweight division? I only know one guy, it’s Rustam Khabilov, who has four fights in the UFC in one year.”
As he inches closer to his goal, Mokaev wants a step up in competition for his next UFC appearance. The ‘Punisher’ says he is ready for someone at the top of the division, which is why he was interested in Brandon Royval, the No. 5 ranked flyweight. However, ‘Raw Dawg’ got booked against Amir Albazi for an upcoming UFC Fight Night in December, so Mokaev may have to wait a while for that fight.
When asked what he thought about Royval vs. Albazi, the undefeated upstart was unimpressed with both potential opponents.
“Both [are] not in my league,” said Mokaev. “If I have a good rest now and I fight, for example, in March, I will smoke both of those guys in the same night. Royval, if you think he’s a different level fighter, watch his fight against Charles Johnson. It was a split decision and I believe Charles Johnson won that fight for the LFA belt. And I did 30-27 to Charles Johnson.”
With his win over Gordon, Mokaev improves to 3-0 under the UFC banner. He also joins the UFC rankings, where he is now No. 15 officially.