Muhammad Mokaev, aka The Black Tiger is a 5-0 Dagestani fighter who currently hold the Tanko FC Flyweight title and is fighting on Tanko FC4 later tonight. He was due to face Warren Mason until last night, when his opponent was found collapsed in a sauna while cutting weight. Carl Prince has managed to secure a last minute opponent for Mokaev in the form of Jamie Kelly and the title fight is still on.
Our own Ian Butlin called the fights at Tanko FC3 and managed to catch up with Mokaev after the event for the following exclusive interview… [Please note, English is not Muhammad’s first tongue, but we have left his replies un-edited to reflect his speech patterns.]
Ian Butlin: Hey, hows things? Has it settled in that you’ve won your first big MMA Title?
Muhammad Mokaev: Yeah, I’m happy with my performance, now I will be competing at British Junior BJJ Championships this weekend and be back in octagon April-May.
Can you tell our readers a little bit of background about how you started in Combat sports and then how you got involved in Mixed Martial Arts?
I started karate back in Dagestan, Buyinaksk when I was 7 years old, but wrestling over there is world class level. We have a lot of Olympic champions but there is a big corruption and top athletes can’t get through, it’s all about money.
I moved to England as my family had problems with Federal Security of the Russian Federation, terrorism growing in Dagestan and its most Dangerous place in Europe as BBC says. The story was – me and my dad was in Makhachkala it’s 30km from Buyinaks, that’s our hometown, and our house was in the village. Terrorist was running off from the police and they ran into our house when my mother was at home and police start shooting our house and my mother died, my dad had to sell car and house so we can leave Russia. We had to move in 2012, I started wrestling 6 months after we lived in England, I’m proud were I come from because we have great history but I’m also happy that UK took care of us and now I represent GB wrestling team and hopefully I can go to Olympics in 2020 Tokyo. I’m 2x British Wrestling Champion, European BJJ Junior Champion 2015, MMA record 5-0-0, Won all BJJ 24/7 tournaments in 2015-2016 adults decisions.
What is your favourite combat sport to compete in?
My favourite combat sport is wrestling because it’s Olympic sport and you use all muscles and makes you fit and explosive, I won all 5 fights and in every fight I use my wrestling because I’m good at it and in Dagestan wrestling in Schools in PE timetable and we fight on the streets all the time, there no such thing as criminal record for fighting
What do you feel is your greatest acheivement and can you give us a list of your biggest wins?
My greatest achievement will be- get to ufc unbeaten and stay unbeaten, get belt defend 2x and finish this sport then start helping to all fighters in U.K. with wrestling and I think by 2030 will be 3 or 4 UK UFC champions.
You have a huge online following, both in the UK and Dagestan. Can you tell us a bit about how MMA is seen in Dagestan and the culture of combat sports?
Yes I have big support over in Dagestan and UK but it’s all by my results not because I do trash talk all the time 😀 in Dagestan I have big following but UK gave me all this and made me where I am at the moment.
Youre an unbeaten amateur champion with some very decisive wins but still only 16. What are your plans for the next 18 months? Do you think you will turn pro at 18?
At the moment I’m 5-0-0 and I’m planing to finish my amateur record with record 10-0-0 or 12-0-0 it’s good that I’m winning and making my family, team and friends proud but I think is good sometimes to losing as you learn from the loss more than win because you will work more harder in the gym to not make same mistake again. I want to to PRO of course and want to be in UFC by 20-21 years old.
You seem very disappointed you couldnt compete in the British Seniors wrestling. Can you tell us a little bit about that and the online banter between you and some of the other competitiors?
About English Championships, British Wrestling Association didn’t let me to compete as I’m not 17 years old yet to compete. I don’t know where is that rule come from? Because I competed in Seniors last year when I was 15 years old, I think because it was qualifying for commonwealth games 2018 in Australia and they want their boys go because they been with them longer than me, but they should looks at results, for been 5 years in U.K. I improved more than anyone in British Wrestling Team and I think my time will come when I get British Passport and I don’t think they will be able to stop me.
What are your goals for MMA/ Combat sports and is this what you want to do for a career?
My goals is to get to UFC as all fighters dream is but it matters how much you want, who is more hungry gets where they want to be! I got friends who fights in UFC, ACB, BAMMA and Bellator so I just need bigger results and there will be no problem to get in any of those Organisations and I’m confident in that.
Can you tell us a bit about your coaches?
My coach Mike Grundy who looked after me since I came to U.K. he helps me through my fight career and wrestling coach. I train at Team Kaobon Liverpool in mornings and Team Kaobon Wigan Afternoon. Also my BJJ Coach Andy Aspinall who is Black Belt and Head coach of Team Kaobon Colin Heron
Tell us about your sponsors and any other thank yous you’d like to make.
I would like to thank my Fightwear sponsor Pit Bull West Coast UK, my supplements sponsor TopBodyUK.co.uk, Terry Bridge, my Personal Trainer, BJJ 24/7 Tournaments, Sams Barbers Wigan, Lean and Mean Cafe and these people who are supporting me; Danny Casey, Shamil Abakarov, Sabir, Lee Seddon, David Grundy.