Just one fight into his young UFC career, Muhammad Mokaev has drawn plenty of hype. A sub-minute guillotine of Cody Durden put him on a lot of people’s radar – so much so that some people started to believe fighters were ducking him. Despite him regularly calling people out, there was no matchup for Mokaev. That is until Charles Johnson stepped up.
Johnson, an LFA flyweight champion, happily took the fight with Mokaev. However, given the chance to look like the tough guy who stepped in to face the person nobody would, Johnson didn’t take the easy narrative. Instead, he explained that he was just the person with the right circumstances to get the fight.
“This is the UFC, I don’t think anybody is afraid of the kid. I think [the fight] has to make sense for them,” Johnson explained. “It makes sense for me because my goal was to get into the UFC, so whatever name they through across, I told my manager to take the fight. I didn’t even ask him who I was fighting when we got the fight.”
So while it got him what he wants, he doesn’t think Mokaev had much to offer other fighters already in the UFC. He feels that you have to force their hand on that, which he plans on doing himself.
“It’s a business thing. The guys who are ranked have no reason to fight you. You got to work your way there regardless of how good you feel,” he said. “I’m going to have to do the same thing. At flyweight, it’s not really hard. You just have to win a few fights.”
Of course, before he can climb the ladder, Johnson will need to get past the task that is Mokaev. He looks to his patience and his experience as major players in getting Mokaev his first loss.
“I feel like once the fight settles in, it’s going to get really uncomfortable for him, fast. Especially if I’m able to defend shots and takedowns and get back up,” Johnson said. “I see him getting tired and I see me starting to put hands on him a lot. Either I knock him out or hurt him really bad in the third or late second.”
Johnson and Mokaev will tango on the preliminary card of UFC London on ESPN+ this Saturday.
You can hear this interview in it’s entirety at 1:56.