Mokaev (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who specifically asked to fight Durden (12-3-1 MMA, 1-1-1 UFC) in his promotional debut, got his wish, and the pair will square off Saturday at O2 Arena on the UFC Fight Night 204 prelims.
Mokaev wasn’t a fan of the controversial comments Durden made after beating Chinese opponent Aori Qileng at UFC Fight Night 198 and asked the UFC to match them up. During fight week, Mokaev said he ran into Durden at the hotel elevator, but Durden decided to wait his turn instead of entering, something he took note of.
“I was in the lift with my coach, and I was going upstairs,” Mokaev told reporters at Wednesday’s UFC London media day. “We opened the lift, he opened the lift, I think he was going upstairs, too, and I said, ‘Are you still alive?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Hello.’ And he didn’t go in, so that’s a bad sign. I would go in and see. I’m not gonna eat him in the lift. I’d just say just stay in touch with the U.S. embassy after the fight so you get off straight away.”
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UFC Fight Night 204 takes place Saturday at O2 Arena in London. The card streams on ESPN+.
Watch the video of Mokaev’s complete pre-fight media availability above.