Wigan fighter becomes youngest UFC star
Wigan's Muhammad Mokaev is targeting global domination after becoming the youngest fighter on the UFC's roster.
The 21-year-old is originally from the Russian Republic of Dagestan, but moved to Wigan as a 12-year-old refugee.
Boasting a 23-0 record at amateur level - which included back-to-back junior bantamweight titles at the IMMAF World Championships in 2018 and 2019 - he's signed a multi-fight deal with the mixed martial arts giant and is likely to make his debut in early 2022.
"I’m very excited to show the young generation that you can achieve anything even being a refugee in the UK," the flyweight prospect told Granada Reports. "Now I’m the youngest fighter in the UFC. My dream is to become the youngest UFC Champion and prove again that everything is possible."
Mokaev attended the Deanery High School, who were quick to message their support.
"Huge congratulations to former @deaneryhigh pupil @muhammadmokaev who has signed a deal with the UFC," the school account tweeted.
"The 21-year-old becomes one of the youngest fighters on the roster. Well done Muhammad."
He replied: "Thank you to Deanery High School in Wigan. I was naughty when I came to school. I want to thank every single teacher for the patience. It was a very, very difficult time for me when I just lost my mother and came to a new country, learning a new language and tradition."
UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard believes Mokaev can follow in the footsteps of Dagestan legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has owned the lightweight division in recent years.
"Muhammad is a flyweight I had been keeping an eye on for quite some time," Maynard told UFC.com. "He is very experienced at only 21 years old with almost 30 fights when you combine amateur and pro bouts. He is undefeated, dynamic and very charismatic. Muhammad sees himself as a flyweight Khabib. He is a perfect fit for this young, fun division."
Get 20% off our sports subscription package and stay up to date with all the latest Wigan Athletic news with a year’s subscription to WiganToday for less than 9p a day. Use promo code TRANSFER20