Muhammad Mokaev isn’t too bothered about comparisons with Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, the 21-year-old noted that his feelings might have been different if ‘The Eagle’ was a “bad guy”.
‘The Punisher’ is happy to be compared to the MMA ‘GOAT’ but wants to carve his own niche as well. Mokaev recently told Andrew Whitelaw in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda MMA:
“No, it didn’t bother me too much. If he was like, bad guy, then I’d be like… But he’s a great example. It’s good that they compare me to GOAT, you know?! But I just want to make my own history. Nothing like rude but I have my own story, my own puff.”
Watch Mokaev’s exclusive interview with Sportskeeda MMA below:
While he now calls Manchester home, Muhammad Mokaev was born in Dagestan where he picked up his high-level wrestling. Comparisons to Nurmagomedov were inevitable owing to the similarities between their dominant ground game.
Four years ago, the British standout had promised Dana White that he would be in the UFC and recently lived up to his promise. ‘The Punisher’ made his promotional debut against Cody Durden on the last UFC London card in March. Mokaev took less than a minute to submit his opponent, extending his unblemished record to 7-0.
Muhammad Mokaev praises Dan Lambert and the ATT for not caring about money
Muhammad Mokaev is now scheduled to face former LFA champion Charles Johnson on the UFC’s return to London in July. The Dagestan-born Brit has now moved to the American Top Team (ATT) gym in Coconut Creek, Florida in preparation for his upcoming bout.
Mokaev praised ATT founder Dan Lambert and manager Richie Guerriero for harboring a passion for the sport despite having achieved substantial success.
The surging flyweight detailed an incident where ATT accommodated a relatively unknown fighter so that he could help ‘The Punisher’ as a sparring partner. Mokaev also stated that he would love to return to the gym in the future. The 21-year-old further told Sportskeeda MMA:
“There’s one guy, for example, came over, nobody knows his name a lot. But I asked, ‘This could be a good sparring partner for me. Like, can we pay and he stay here?’ He’s like, ‘Listen, we don’t care about money, you know, if he can help you, he can stay.’ They give him room. That’s something amazing you know. There’s a Richie guy, he’s a manager of the gym and Dan Lambert, they’re doing amazing job over there. I really want to come back again.”
Dan Lambert founded the American Top Team in 2001 and brought in former members of Brazilian Top Team Marcus Silveira, Marcelo Silveira and Ricardo Liborio. Also affiliated with pro-wrestling, Lambert has played a pivotal role in shaping various fighters’ personas, with Colby Covington being one of them.