The flyweight matchup is expected to kick off the preliminary portion of Saturday’s card and there is plenty of bad blood between the two fighters dating back to this past November when Mokaev condemned racist remarks Durden made following a win over China’s Aori Qileng. Mokaev said he would like to “smash” Durden and an official bout between the two was eventually drawn up.
At Wednesday’s UFC London Media day, Mokaev discussed the feud and told a story about running into Durden at an elevator during fight week.
“I was in a lift with my coach and I was going upstairs,” Mokaev said. “[Durden] opened the lift, I think he was going upstairs too and I said, ‘You still alive?’ He looked at me, said ‘hello’ and he didn’t go in. That’s a bad sign.
“I would go in and see. I’m not gonna eat him. I just said, ‘Stay in touch with the U.S. embassy after the fight so you can get off straight away.’”
Stay in touch with the US embassy https://t.co/BuNxVoPTL8— Muhammad Mokaev (@muhammadmokaev) March 16, 2022
Durden refuted Mokaev’s account of the story via Twitter.
Full of shit! You said “hello, are you still alive?” I replied “yeah, mother fucker”. Then elevator door closes. After all that shit you talked about slapping me lol. I don’t have to travel around with my coaches. https://t.co/oRIgoOXk3B— Cody Durden (@Cody_Durden) March 16, 2022
“Full of s***!” Durden wrote. “You said ‘hello, are you still alive?’ I replied ‘yeah, motherf*****.’ Then elevator door closes. After all that s*** you talked about slapping me lol. I don’t have to travel around with my coaches.”
Mokaev later issued a reply of his own to Durden:
Full of shit? Why you didn’t walk in the lift then little crackhead— Muhammad Mokaev (@muhammadmokaev) March 16, 2022
“Full if s***?” Mokaev wrote. “Why didn’t you walk in the lift then little crackhead?”
Mokaev brings a 5-0 (1 NC) record into his UFC debut when he and Durden (12-3-1) settle their beef on Saturday.
The UFC fighter hotel has apparently seen plenty of action already as lightweights Ilia Topuria and Paddy Pimblett were also involved in an altercation, which was caught on video and posted by Topuria. Pimblett downplayed the incident at Wednesday’s media day, referring to Topuria as “Mr. Hand Sanitizer” and asking who he was.