Born in Iran, hailing from the Netherlands, Gegard Mousasi was destined to be well-travelled and to have a life full of perseverance, and that is exactly what his mixed martial arts career has been full of thus far.
In a career that has seen him compete in 14 different countries, Gegard Mousasi has rarely cracked a smile but has become a bonafide assassin in the sport of mixed martial arts. He has amassed a record of 47-7-2 as he heads into Bellator 264 this Friday as he looks to pad his impressive record with a title defence against John Salter. Salter won’t be an easy task as he has won three straight and 10 of his last 11 so this would be another impressive win in a career full of them.
Despite all these wins though Mousasi finds himself in a tricky predicament in terms of where he ranks as an all time middleweight. He isn’t in the conversation for the top spot but is he top five? Is he top three? That’s what is going to be dissected.
Where Does Gegard Mousasi Rank All-Time?
Best Wins and Moments
As mentioned, Gegard Mousasi has fought all over the globe and that include big promotions like Pride FC, Strikeforce, UFC and currently Bellator. In all those promotions he has fought a who’s who of the sport.
In Japan under the promotions Dream and Pride FC he holds victories over Hector Lombard, Denis Kang, Melvin Manhoef, Ronaldo Souza, and Mark Hunt. He competed at mainly light heavyweight and even at openweight for these fights but its when he came to the United States that his resume really got stuffed full of quality wins.
He gained wins over legends such as Renato Sobral, Sokoudjo and Ovince Saint Preux and after having impressive performances one after another the aforementioned UFC would absorb his contract after they purchased Strikeforce.
In the UFC he would be thrown to the wolves and have a lot of up and down moments highlighted by wins over Mark Munoz, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Uriah Hall, and Chris Weidman but he would never get a title shot in the promotion. He would always get within one win of earning a shot but he would always slip up every time.
Under the Bellator banner where he currently fights he continues to fend off the younger fighters in his weight class by defeating guys like Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima. His most recent win over Douglas Lima was a fight that he had done well in but even at the end it appeared he could’ve lost it, those types of losses is what makes this career picture for Gegard Mousasi so difficult.
His career began over 18 years ago and over that span he has only lost seven times, its a super impressive number when you realize he has fought 56 times over those 18 years.
Of those seven losses he was only stopped in three of them, twice by submission from Akihiro Gono and Ronaldo Souza, and once by knockout in his first bout against Uriah Hall. Coming from the Netherlands he has excellent kickboxing skills but it was his ground work that always impressed despite these losses by submission.
He may not have been the most aggressive on the ground but he was doing enough to earn 12 submission wins in his career. What would let him down the most at times was his lack of urgency on the feet because when you watch his fight against Lyoto Machida you see a fighter who is waiting for the fight to come to him versus him bringing it to them.
All-Time Middleweight Rankings
The toughest case study of almost any fighter around today, Gegard Mousasi has a career that on paper is one of the best but its important to split the hairs at the same time.
He isn’t the best of his division all-time because that title is firmly held by Anderson Silva, who is now making waves in the boxing ring, but where does he fill in after? It isn’t premature to throw Israel Adesanya in the mix and as far as filling in the rest of the top five you have to include Mousasi but also names like Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, Rich Franklin, and Chris Weidman and so many more.
Middleweight is truly one of the toughest divisions to rank in the young history of MMA but that is why Gegard Mousasi fighting to defend his belt this Friday is that much more important. With a win he can climb up another ring of that ladder to maybe break not just the top five but even the top three.
Embed from Getty Images