Gegard Mousasi might be the best fighter you’ve never heard about. He’s won multiple titles, fought all over the world and overcome a lot of obstacles in his decade long career, but still enters his UFC debut as a bit of an unknown commodity.
The former Strikeforce and DREAM title holder was originally billed to meet Swedish superstar Alexander Gustafsson, but a last minute cut forced the Swede out of their bout. Ilir Latifi, a training partner to Gustafsson, has stepped up to the plate taking the bout on a few days’ notice.
Mousasi, 27, has a lot of experience under his belt and now says he has stepped up his training as well. Instead of drilling technique with his brother and a few others in a tiny warehouse, he has changed his entire camp in preparation for his Octagon debut. When Mousasi joined MMASucka Radio, he had this to say:
“I always trained MMA, but I think I train more professional now. I have a lot of great coaches in all areas and I’m just more professional. I wouldn’t say it’s my first ‘real’ MMA training camp but I would say it’s much more professional.”
Mousasi has gone on a 5-0-1 streak, with his last loss coming to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal at a Strikeforce event back in 2010. The Dreamcatcher’s critics had downed him following that loss because of his training and his lack of takedown defense.
“Back then I would do a lot of running and sparring, now I have a boxing coach, strength and conditioning, you name it and now I’m better in all areas and that’s the most important.”
The soft spoken fighter from the Netherlands enters his headlining clash against Latifi as an eleven-to-one favourite. While his ultimate goal is to be UFC light heavyweight champion, he understands that he isn’t going to get there overnight.
“I have to prove myself more before they give me a title shot, maybe another fight then we can talk about that.”