Gegard Mousasi is not the brash, outspoken fighter that many fans expect to see in today’s sports world where sometimes a gift for gab is nearly as important as an athlete’s gifts in his chosen sport.
But when Mousasi puts on the type of performance that he did against Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 41 on Saturday in Berlin, he doesn’t need to be brash. His skills in the Octagon are brash enough.
Having dominated Munoz, negating his world-class wrestling and submitting him less than four minutes into the fight, Mousasi has every right to scream from the mountain tops that he should leap up the middleweight ladder. In true Mousasi fashion, however, when he is asked where he fits in the division, he has a realistic take on where he’s at.
“I think around 7 to 5, maybe,” Mousasi responded when asked where he should be ranked as a UFC middleweight. And that’s probably a fair assessment, considering he lost to former champion Lyoto Machida in his last fight and there are fighters like Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Luke Rockhold, and Tim Kennedy already knocking on Chris Weidman’s door.
But it is those other fighters that are in the line ahead of him that Mousasi is now targeting. True to his nature, he targets them because they are steps to take towards a title shot, not for any personal reasons.
“I’m not interested in them at all, but I think (because) I get a win, I’m going to get a winner (as my next opponent). Kennedy or Rockhold, anyone who is coming off of a win who is maybe a contender,” he assessed when asked about his future. “So that is why I think I will get one of those guys, but I don’t know. I’m not challenging anyone.”
Given his druthers, Mousasi would make one callout, however. He would like to call out Japan. The UFC recently announced they are headed to Japan with Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson headlining in September, and Mousasi isn’t shy about admitting he’d love to return to the land where he once held the Dream middleweight championship.
“I would definitely love to fight in Japan. The Japanese crowd is well educated and I just like Japan,” said Mousasi. “They already have the headline, so, co-main event would be great for me.”
The UFC has yet to announce what their plans are for Mousasi, but considering his popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun, it wouldn’t be an outrageous idea to put him on that card opposite the likes of a Tim Kennedy or Luke Rockhold.