Fifth-ranked middleweight Gegard Mousasi faces former champion Chris Weidman in the UFC 210 co-main event on Saturday. He’s more than ready to take out the man that ended the Anderson Silva era of dominance over the 185-pound division.
“Training camp has gone great. I’m prepared. I’m more than ready. I’m looking forward to the fight,” Mousasi told MMAWeekly.com.
Mousasi believes he matches up well with Weidman. In his opinion, Weidman is good, but not that good.
“He’s a tough guy, strong physically, a good wrestler, a good ground game. His stand-up is okay. He’s good everywhere, but he’s not that explosive. He’s not that fast. He’s great, but not that great,” said Mousasi. “He’s just a solid guy. He’s not spectacular.”
Weidman is coming of back-to-back losses and needs a win to maintain his contender status. Mousasi sees Weidman as a stepping stone to get one stone closer to a title shot. But he’s not underestimating the former champion.
Mousasi possesses a precision striking game. Weidman has knockout power and is an accomplished grappler. Mousasi expects the former champion to try and get the fight to the ground, but insisted that strategy will not work against him.
“He’s not going to take me down. I promise you that. To anyone that doesn’t believe that, I’ll show you on (Saturday). I know people are hesitant about my wrestling, but this is MMA,” he said. “My striking is far better than his. He has to set up the punches to take me down. Other than that, he’s going to exchange. He’s going to big, heavy hands, and then go for the takedown. Obviously he wants to pressure me and wrestle with me and grind it out.”
To put Mousasi on his back, Weidman has to first close the distance. He has to time takedown attempts and press forward. Mousasi maintains that pressuring him is not a good idea.
“He has to come forward, but I think that’s a big mistake. He’s not going to come forward against me because I’m the better stand-up fighter. He’s not going to pressure me. I know he has that in his mind, but it’s not going to work,” he said.
“He has to take me down to increase his chances of winning, but no one is taking me down. I know his wrestling is good, but I’m ready. I’m going to show my wrestling defense. After that, I don’t want anyone to talk about my wrestling,” added the 31-year-old contender.
Mousasi not only believes that he’ll defeat Weidman on Saturday, he believes that he’s the better fighter in all areas compared to his opponent. He expects to dominate Weidman.
“Physically, I’m strong. I fell I’m one of the strongest middleweights. Combined with my technique and wrestling that I’ve been working on, I feel I have an advantage in all areas against Weidman,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m not planning on making it an even fight. I should be able to go and dominate him.”