Muhammad Mokaev: ‘New Khabib Nurmagomedov’ – who arrived in the UK as a child refugee

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Meet Muhammad Mokaev, who like Khabib Nurmagomedov hails from Dagestan and is another MMA prodigy.

The 20-year-old came to the UK as a refugee eight years ago and, some days, had as little as £5 a day between him and his father for food.

Muhammad Mokaev has got Dana White’s attention

@mokaev_muhammad on Instagram

Muhammad Mokaev has got Dana White’s attention

However, he is now 4-0 as a professional MMA star after going 22-0 as an amateur, the Russian looks set to make his UFC debut in 2021.

Mokaev made the journey across mainland Europe from his homeland in a car with his father after the death of his mother in 2012.

After getting engaged in Istanbul just before Christmas, Mokaev told CNN Sport that fans will be seeing him compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship as soon as ‘next year’.

Mokaev says his UFC debut is coming in 2021

@mokaev_muhammad on Instagram

Mokaev says his UFC debut is coming in 2021

Khabib is one of the most famous MMA fighters in the world and after going 29-0 by beating Justin Gaethje last year, the UFC lightweight champion walked away from the sport.

The Eagle is famed for his insane conditioning and unstoppable grappling skills, and Mokaev is of the same mould.

The youngster explains that’s just the culture in Dagestan.

“[At] school, either you go to training, either you go and sit outside and talk about life,” he told CNN.

Khabib confirmed his retirement immediately after defeating Justin Gaethje

Getty Images – Getty

Khabib confirmed his retirement immediately after defeating Justin Gaethje

“Like you can sit, sit, and then there’s somebody who starts fighting, maybe two or three fights in one circle. Because people [have] got nothing to do.

“At that time, I’d go to train and come back home. We can go to training; we can go to school. Sometimes you can miss lessons in school to go to training.

“It’s like you’d call the teacher and say: ‘I’m stuck in training, I can’t come today.’ And she’d say, ‘OK.’ That’s how it works.”

Not speaking a word of English, Mokaev and his father, Murad made their way across Europe to the UK and settled in Liverpool before eventually being given a house in Wigan.

Mokaev fights out of Manchester now

@mokaev_muhammad on Instagram

Mokaev fights out of Manchester now

“I came to UK as a refugee and I was getting like £5 a day. Me and my father on £5 a day, it’s like maybe $6-7, and it’s like you have to split this for food and clothes and internet for your phone. It’s not enough. I was hungry.”

Mokaev found wrestling and MMA in local clubs growing up in the UK and is now one of the most-exciting prospects in the game.

While the comparisons to Khabib are obvious, Mokaev insists they are a little different.

“Me and Khabib are different people, I think,” he added. “When I fought in amateurs, people knew me, like my charisma is different to Khabib’s.

“My charisma is different [than] Khabib’s because people found out about Khabib maybe when he was on a like a 26-fight winning streak, maybe 27.

“People knew about me when I was [on] like my third amateur fight. The difference when I get to that level, you will see the difference.

“I believe I will be [the greatest of all time].”

Mokaev in action and he has proven deadly thus far

@mokaev_muhammad on Instagram

Mokaev in action and he has proven deadly thus far





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