We recently sat down with Muhammad Mokaev ahead of his amateur flyweight title clash with Liam Gittins at Tanko FC on February 11th. We discussed his plans for 2017, his upcoming title fight and his ambitions for the future.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Muhammad “The Black Tiger” Mokaev. I am 16 years old and was born in Dagestan, south Russia. I came to the UK in 2012 and now live in Wigan. I started training in team Kaobon Wigan.
How did you get into mixed martial arts?
I started wrestling for team GB in 2013 and I was winning my matches easily as I have been wrestling from a young age in Dagestan. I used to train with two friends for their MMA fights and I saw them winning their fights using wrestling and I thought I could use my wrestling in MMA. I also saw they were making money with sponsors so I decided to transition over to MMA. I had also won the BJJ European championships in 2015.
What is your favourite martial art?
Wrestling. It is what I started with and in Dagestan, you do it from being 2/3 years old.
What do you like to do in your free time? As your only 16 years old, are you currently studying?
Yes, I am currently studying a BTEC qualification in business studies at a college in Wigan where I live.
Do you plan on turning professional?
I was going to turn professional ACB in March but they have offered me an amateur fight instead, I just have to win my title fight at Tanko first. I want 5 more amateur fight this year then I will turn professional with a 9-0 record. It is my aim to go professional and work my way through ACB then eventually make my way to the UFC. I think I will be in the UFC by the time I am 20-21. I have good contacts with Khabib, Khabilov, Tumenov, Makhachev, Askham, Till and Diakiese but I just need to build my record.
Do you plan on staying at flyweight or would you move up on weight class?
I would probably move to bantamweight soon, maybe after my next 2-3 fights. I am getting heavier and I have fought at bantamweight before for FCC.
Who is one fighter you would like to fight?
Your fighting for the Tanko FC amateur flyweight title on February 11th, how have you been preparing and are you nervous as this is a title fight?
I’m not really nervous, I have competed in a lot of other competitions such as BJJ, wrestling and boxing so this is just any other competition. My preparation is the same as always, I’ve been working on my strength and conditioning whilst working on my fitness. I am still doing wrestling but my wrestling is good enough already.
Do you have a message for Liam Gittins?
Just make weight, and turn up. Be professional. Your 7-1 which is nearly a pro record so you have to be professional. I have watched him and he is a nice, humble guy. He has never said anything to me but we will see when the cage closes and its one on one.
How do you see the fight with Gittins going?
I am an all round fighter, I have good boxing and BJJ but wrestling is my strongest. I would like to stand up with Gittins and put on a show for the fans and get the KO victory but if I take him down then it is my game, it will be over if I take him down.
Any last comments from yourself?
I would like to thank all my sponsors, Pitbull WestCoast, BJJ 247, Twinzz, Sams barbers Wigan, my team Kaobon Wigan and all my teammates.
You can follow Muhammad on Twitter @muhammadmokaev, Instagram – @muhammad_mokaev and on Facebook – Muhammad “Black Tiger” Mokaev. We wish Muhammad all the best in his upcoming title fight and hope to see him in the UFC soon!