Gegard Mousasi is just about to step into a Bellator cage for the first time on Friday night, but the former UFC middleweight contender already has big plans for his new fight home.
Mousasi signed with Bellator MMA earlier this year after his contract with the UFC expired as he expressed disdain not only with the promotion’s offer to keep him but also the current politics surrounding the middleweight title.
“I think the difference with me they probably wanted me to face Luke Rockhold and after the GSP-Michael Bisping fight, [Robert] Whittaker would have been next. So I would have to take another fight so who knows. The UFC has their favorites,” Mousasi told MMAWeekly ahead of his Bellator MMA debut. “Like Yoel Romero, I believe should have got his title shot a long time ago and he probably would have beaten Michael Bisping but they kept giving him fight after fight after fight until he lost. Now he has to win another couple fights before he another title shot.
“They can make your road to the title very difficult or they can just hand it to you with how they do with certain fighters. I’m happy with Bellator because after this it’s 100-percent title fight and I’m very happy with my decision.”
First things first, Mousasi will face former Bellator champion Alexander Shlemenko on Friday night but following four knockouts in his past five fights, the veteran contender believes this will be another big win to add to his resume.
“I’m looking forward to this debut. I have to prove myself and I think I’m well prepared. I’m not underestimating the guy but I think I’m gonna beat him easy,” Mousasi said.
“I know I can finish him and I think I will do it within two rounds.”
Assuming Mousasi wins on Friday night, he’s already plotting his next few fights with a middleweight title shot at the top of his list and then moving onto potentially add a second Bellator championship as well as a super fight against another famous face who previously competed in the UFC.
“First it’s [Alexander] Shlemenko, he’s a former champ and then it’s fighting the champ,” Mousasi said. “Then there’s a possibility of maybe Rory MacDonald at middleweight — that I think would be a great fight. After that, I don’t know a lot of middleweights in Bellator — maybe Chael Sonnen or Wanderlei [Silva], you could make those fights but I do look at light heavyweight. You have Quinton Jackson, Chael Sonnen, ‘King’ Mo [Lawal], Ryan Bader.
“There are lots of big fights for me in Bellator. Maybe not now at middleweight but perhaps light heavyweight.”
The matchup with MacDonald is an interesting possibility considering the Canadian has teased a future at middleweight after he gets through welterweight champion Douglas Lima next year.
Mousasi would welcome the challenge although he cautions MacDonald not to bite off more than he can chew by jumping up to a higher weight class where size does matter.
“That’s a fight people like, Rory MacDonald likes it. I’ve trained with welterweights and I think there’s a big, big difference but for me it doesn’t matter,” Mousasi said. “If he likes the fight and fans want it, I like it.
“So middleweight title, light heavyweight title and then fights fans want to see.”
It’s an ambitious plan but one that Mousasi is ready to carry out as he looks to cash in on all the opportunities that Bellator is willing to give him. It starts with the main event on Friday night and then Mousasi has gold in his eyes while adding zeroes to his bank account with the biggest fights the promotion can offer him.
“At this point it’s the middleweight belt,” Mousasi said. “Once I have that, I can look for the light heavyweight belt and then fight against Rory MacDonald.”