London, England — Unbeaten flyweight Muhammad Mokaev spent more time talking about who he isn’t fighting at UFC 286 during Wednesday’s media day than who he is.
Mokaev (9-0, 1NC) is facing Jafel Filho at the O2 Arena in London this weekend, which has become a home base of sorts for the Dagestan-born Brit. But he went through a small army of opponents who refused to fight him before landing on Filho, he told media outlets including Cageside Press on Wednesday.
“Matt Schnell said he doesn’t want to fight in England, I don’t know, maybe cage size difference, or maybe weather, or maybe his heart is broken,” said Mokaev, rattling off a list of would-be foes who turned him down. “Su Mudaerji, Chinese guy. Tim Elliott is injured. David Dvorak didn’t accept, and Amir Albazi. David Dvorak blocked me by the way, on Instagram, because I tagged him on the story calling him out. I didn’t say anything disrespectful, I said ‘let’s go March 18.'”
If opponents keep refusing to face him in England, Mokaev said he’s ready to go after them stateside. “I’ve heard there’s an International Fight Week, 8th of July. I’ve just been told, but I want to fight there.”
Aside from the aforementioned list of fighters not willing to tussle with him, Mokaev had a meeting with another rival, Jake Hadley, during the UFC 286 fight week. And it left him wondering why people talk trash online, then fail to speak up in person.
“I just actually came face-to-face to him, he didn’t say one word, and his dad started backing him up,” Mokaev revealed. “I don’t understand, if my father was in front of me and I’m a UFC fighter, I wouldn’t stand behind my dad, I would jump over and slap the guy. He didn’t say any word. I don’t know these guys, not saying anything in real life. I know these kind of guys, I grew up in England— Twitter is different than life.”
Hadley is also fighting on UFC 286, taking on former Mokaev opponent Malcolm Gordon. And while it seems like Mokaev has had all sorts of feuds barely a year into his UFC career, he pointed out that he’s been happy to train with former opponents.
“I’ve just been in Tiger Muay Thai training with Charles Johnson, I’ve been in American Top Team training with Cody Durden. I said to Malcolm Gordon, if you need any help in this room, I can help you too,” explained Mokaev. “I’m okay, but guys like Jake Hadley, I don’t know. I don’t know what to call them. I don’t want to swear, but he didn’t say one word. One word. At least say something, don’t stay behind your father. I feel very bad for his father. Old man, I didn’t even want to say anything, because [there’s an] old man in front of me. It’s like, I imagine it’s my father.”
Watch the full UFC 286 media day with Muhammad Mokaev above.