Gegard Mousasi Talks Softly and Pack a Powerful Punch


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

Gegard Mousasi at StrikeforceSince making his MMA debut almost a decade ago, Iranian born stand-up wizard Gegard Mousasi is one of the more decorated fighters to never step foot in the vaunted Octagon of the UFC.

Having cut his teeth in the Japanese organizations of PRIDE FC and DREAM in the early part of the current millennium, Mousasi finally made his stateside debut for the now-defunct Strikeforce promotion in 2009. He scored a first-round TKO victory over former UFC title challenger Renato “Babalu” Sobral, capturing the company’s light heavyweight championship.

This Saturday, “The Dreamcatcher” makes his long awaited promotional debut at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in Stockholm.  Mousasi was originally slated to meet light heavyweight powerhouse and hometown Swede Alexander Gustafsson in the night‘s main event, but “The Mauler“ was forced to pull out due to a cut suffered in training. Gustafsson has been replaced by countryman and sparring partner Ilir Latifi.

Although Latifi doesn’t present the same threat as Gustaffson, this fight still marks the UFC debut of one of the most accomplished fighters to never fight for the company, and for Mousasi, the pressure is mounting.

“There’s some pressure because this is the first fight (in the UFC). You want to do well. It’s the biggest organization,“ Mousasi told MMAweekly.com. “It’s a big opportunity for me. Sometimes you get opportunities and you just have to take them, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Despite a stellar career overseas, the opportunity the UFC represents for Mousasi is undeniable.  With a rabid worldwide fan base and ample opportunities to fight, Mousasi now finds himself at the center of the MMA universe. He even admits to, on occasion, thinking about what his early career might have been like if he had joined the world’s premiere fighting organization a bit sooner.

“Sometimes I wonder if I had spent my career in the UFC a lot earlier, then maybe I would have went a lot further with everything,“ he stated. “But I started my career in Japan, and I have different roots.

“I could’ve reached a lot more if I would have done things correctly in the past, but so far I cannot complain. I have a good record, but maybe if I did things better in the past, I’d be further in my class, higher in my career.”

Prior to fighting in the UFC, Mousasi amassed an impressive record of 33-3-2, while picking and choosing how much he would put into any given training camp.  Outside of the UFC, motivation became a daily struggle as he battled a lack of organizational consistency and job security.

“Every fight that I had, nothing really actually changed in my life. I’m not getting richer or poorer; it’s the same thing,” he commented.

“With the UFC, I feel like there’s big opportunities. It kind of excites me to be where these other guys are, at the top of the division. These things motivate me, now. Maybe in the past I lacked in that because of… some frustrations. I feel like now I’m getting the opportunity to make something out of it.

“I’m more serious. I have coaches in all areas now. In the past I would just train myself. So, I’m taking things more serious. I’m more professional. I train right; that’s what I feel I haven’t done in the past. And mentally I think I’ve grown. I’m more mature.”

During his time overseas, Mousasi was the victim of unwavering critique and was accused of possessing a “padded” record filled with sub-par opponents; something he is quick to discuss, and dismiss.

“This is a popularity contest I think. I think the guys who are promoted well get more credit,” said the 27-year-old.

“When I fought some guys, they were at the top and now they’re going down. This is fighting; even an opponent who is not so good can defeat you. I’ve fought at light heavyweight, middleweight, heavyweight. I fought Mark Hunt, who everyone said wasn’t that good and now he’s possibly fighting for the heavyweight title. I fought Jacare. He became the Strikeforce champion. I fought Melvin Manhoef; maybe he’s not the best, but he’s a guy who can beat anyone. Even if you put him against the number one guy, he has a big chance of winning because of the way he fights. So to the people who don’t think I’ve fought top competition, they probably don’t know the sport that well.”

If there is any knock on the well-rounded Dutch transplant, it’s his inability to promote a fight. So when Mousasi speaks about the fight game being a “popularity contest,” he speaks from experience.

In an era where entertainment has become paramount to a fighter’s career arc, Mousasi acknowledges that he might not be the slickest of tongues, but hopefully his fighting speaks for itself.

“I’m just being myself,” he said. “It’s entertainment and people like to be entertained. So, it makes sense to talk more. But as long as you fight well, and everything goes well, you don’t need to worry.”

Currently riding a five-fight winning streak, Mousasi is one of the hottest prospects in MMA – ability to inspire trash talk or not – in one of the most talent-rich divisions the sport has to offer. Now, with his UFC debut just days away, Mousasi sees nothing but opportunity on the road ahead.

“I know for sure I can fight any of these guys and beat them,” he declared. “Now it’s a matter of fighting them. I can talk all I want, but now I have to go out and perform against these top names.

“I feel like I belong at the top, for sure.”

view original article >>

Related News

  • 27 days ago
  • 36 views

Ronda Rousey is the biggest star in the known universe.
This may not be the most truthful statement ever written. But it feels that way, here in one of the many rooms that make up the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Rousey, clad in a gray Marilyn Monroe shirt, black leather jacket, designer Chuck Taylors and a gold Octagon necklace, is holding court on a small stage constructed specifically for her.
To Rousey’s left is UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. He is discussing his title defense again more

  • 22 days ago
  • 32 views

Gegard Mousasi was not pleased to find out about the UFC 176 cancellation through social media.
Last night the UFC broke the news that UFC 176 was scrubbed from the calendar after failing to find a main event to replace Jose Aldo/Chad Mendes 2. Gegard Mousasi was scheduled to be the co-main event opposite fellow middleweight contender Ronaldo Souza, but that fight along with the rest of the card will be rescheduled across several different UFC shows.
All of this was brand new to Mousasi, who pos more

  • 22 days ago
  • 36 views

Poor guy is always the last to know...
Gegard Mousasi had no idea his fight against Ronaldo Souza was no longer taking place in Los Angeles.
That is, until he went on social media and discovered the promotion had "postponed" its UFC 176 pay-per-view (PPV) event. That means "The Dreamcatcher," by his own account, trained six weeks "for nothing," and took to his official Facebook page (via James Lynch) to put his employer on blast.
Have a look: And the follow up (via Bloody Elbow): The good news i more

  • 21 days ago
  • 39 views

The fight between former Strikeforce champions Ronaldo Souza and Gegard Mousasi that originally was set for the co-main event of UFC 176 now will take place at UFC Fight Night 50. Filed under: MMA Rumors, News, UFC more

  • 21 days ago
  • 47 views

The UFC 176 co-main event bout between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Gegard Mousasi, like several other bouts on the cancelled fight card, has already found a new home, as of Wednesday morning. more

  • 21 days ago
  • 31 views

Zach Makovsky vs. Jussier Formiga and "Jacare" Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi 2 are among several fights that have since been moved from UFC 176 to other cards.
The loss of UFC 176 has proven to be the gain for other upcoming cards. About half of the original lineup has already been redistributed across several August and September cards, most notably the rematch between Ronaldo Souza and Gegard Mousasi, which will either headline or co-headline the UFC Fight Night in Connecticut.
This is the current more

  • 21 days ago
  • 47 views

The UFC's decision to cancel UFC 176 left co-headliner Gegard Mousasi a little frustrated.
Mousasi, who was scheduled to fight Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza on Aug. 2 in Los Angeles, took to Facebook to voice his displeasure with the way yesterday's news broke: On Wednesday, Mousasi's manager Nima Safapour explained his client's stance:
"Zuffa reached out to us in advance shortly before the media became aware that the event was postponed," he said. "However, due to the time zone differences between Hol more

  • 20 days ago
  • 26 views

Gegard Mousasi's manager says his client was in Holland when news broke that UFC 176 had been cancelled, and due to the nine-hour time difference in the U.S., he couldn't reach him to inform him of the news before it made its way online. Gegard Mousasi wasn't too pleased with the fact that he had to rely on social media to discover that his scheduled fight against Ronaldo Souza at UFC 176, which was set to go down on Aug. 2, 2014, was "postponed" due to the cancellation of UFC 176.
"The Dreamcat more

  • 29 days ago
  • 95 views

The UFC will crown the first strawweight champion with The Ultimate Fighter 20, but it won’t stop the promotion from matching other strawweight fights before the season.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk, unbeaten in MMA, will take on fellow UFC newcomer Juliana Lima at UFC on FOX 12 in San Jose, Calif., on July 26. Sources close to the situation confirmed the match-up to MMAFighting.com following a report from Groundandpound.
Jedrzejczyk (6-0) earns a shot in the Octagon after scoring a second-round knockout more