MUHAMMAD MOKAEV plans to get the attention of the flyweight division’s elite with a spectacular showing this weekend.
The Punisher returns to the octagon on Saturday evening on a stacked UFC 280 card in Abu Dhabi.
Mokaev has gone a perfect 2-0 during his brief stint in the UFC, in which he’s extended his undefeated run to a whopping 30 fights.
And he’s hoping a statement-making victory over Malcolm Gordon will catch the eyes of the 125lbs division’s big boys.
The Russian-born Brit told SunSport: “Of course, I wanted to take a ranked fighter next. But this is the guy who accepted the fight.
“So what can I do? I’d rather stay active and fight anyone than waiting for these ranked guys who pull out.”
He added: “After I finish Malcolm Gordon, they’re going to say, ‘Give him to somebody [ranked].
“Who is this guy fighting? Give him somebody good.’ That’s what they’re going to say.
“But right now, they’re saying, ‘He should fight somebody unranked, he’s only just come to the UFC.
“So we’re going to change people’s opinions.”
The 22-year-old’s self-confessed “disappointing” performance has only served to further motivate him.
But Mokaev is experiencing a different type of motivation ahead of his third octagon outing – the birth of his first child.
The adopted Manc said: “I don’t just do this now for myself, I do this for my family.
“I feel bad for Malcolm Gordon, he’s getting me at the wrong time and wrong place.”
Canada’s Gordon represents a step-up in opponent for Mokaev, who has yet to experience any sort of adversity in his near-perfect professional career.
Mokaev has the utmost respect for the skill set MMA vet Gordon brings to the table but is adamant he’ll emerge from the desert dust-up victorious.
He said: “Stylistically, I will strike with this guy, take him down and beat him [up].
“Anything I want to do [to him], I will do in the fight.”
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