Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Earlier this week, it was announced that Gegard Mousasi would face welterweight champion Douglas Lima for the vacant Bellator middleweight title at Bellator 243 this summer. The title fight came about because middleweight champion Rafael Lovato Jr. , who won the belt from Mousasi, was forced to step away from the sport due to a serious medical condition. In the interim, Mousasi is now getting a shot at regaining the belt he lost but the former champion already has bigger plans on the horizon: the Bellator light heavyweight belt.
Speaking with Luke Thomas yesterday, Mousasi, who had spoken about retiring if he lost a rematch to Lovato, says that all that talk is out of his head now and that he’s focused on not just reclaiming the middleweight title, but leaving a legacy in Bellator.
Mousasi is already one of the more accomplished fighters in the sport, having held titles in Bellator, Cage Warriors, and Strikeforce, as well as holding both the middleweight and light heavyweight title in DREAM. But Mousasi says that’s not enough for him because his middleweight title run was a little lacking. After winning the title with a TKO of Rafael Carvalho, Mousasi then stopped welterweight champion Rory MacDonald. Now with Mousasi set to face another welterweight champion, he says he needs to reach for a bigger challenge to solidify his legacy in the promotion.
“100 percent,” Mousasi said when asked if he had spoken to Bellator about fighting Bader next. “I think now two welterweights have come up, people are going to say he’s beating welterweights. So I think a big name to beat – but I have to go first through Douglas Lima. I’m not thinking, ‘Yeah, okay, Douglas Lima, I’m going to beat him’. But if I succeed in that? Light heavyweight is the biggest name out there. That’s just for the accomplishment.”
A victory over Ryan Bader would certainly be a huge feather in Mousasi’s cap as Bader is not just the Bellator light heavyweight champion, but the heavyweight champion as well. And it’s not like Mousasi himself is a stranger to competing at 205. Mousasi was the Strikeforce and Dream light heavyweight champion and has regularly competed in both divisions. But Mousasi says that’s not likely to be the case going forward. Assuming everything goes to plan and he does win the light heavyweight title, Mousasi says he will vacate one belt because he’s not trying to live the champ-champ life.
“That’s only for one fight,” Mousasi explained. “After that I’m going to relinquish the title because I can’t be defending light heavyweight and middleweight. It’s just a one-time deal.”
And if Bellator decides they aren’t interested? That’s no skin off Mousasi’s nose either. The ever-stoic former champion says he’s not actually that interested in becoming yet another champ-champ; he’s just interested in a fight that’s going to reestablish himself as one of the best in the world. So if Bellator would prefer he stay at middleweight, that’s fine by him also, but he believes Bellator is interested in making that fight too.
“I don’t care that much about [being a double champion] but I think it’s a fight that’s going to put me back on top again,” Mousasi concluded. “Beating a guy like Bader, that’s a big thing. Who else is there at middleweight? There’s not a lot of big names. But I’m also happy to stay at middleweight. I don’t care to be honest but yeah, I think Bellator also wants to have that fight so I’m open for it.”
Bellator 242 is set to take place on May 9th at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. The main event will feature Ryan Bader defending his light heavyweight title for the first time in two years against Vadim Nemkov. Mousasi will face Lima for the middleweight title in the co-main event.
Knowledge. Dominick Reyes: ‘I know I won’ at UFC 247, has a message for Jon Jones.
Deal. Ronda Rousey announces Facebook video game streaming deal.
Goals. Jan Blachowicz wants to avenge his loss to Corey Anderson and then ‘be the first guy to beat Jon Jones’.
Healthy. Rogerio Bontorin fasting since Monday to make weight for UFC Rio Rancho.
Dublin. The UFC returns to Dublin on Aug. 15.
UFC 247 Rewind.
The Thrill and the Agony.
CM Punk tattoo breakdown.
10 fighters who had success after leaving the UFC.
Joe Rogan on the most important skill in MMA.
De Santis & Duffy. Discussing some well-worn tropes of MMA that are bad.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Think of how much money it costs to test someone 50 times.
Congrats @HollyHolm – the first UFC athlete to successfully complete 50 USADA tests without issue. pic.twitter.com/6kVzAql1PO
— UFC (@ufc) February 13, 2020
Jon really vibing himself despite coming off two incredibly controversial wins.
Who’s next? pic.twitter.com/guGpD7IT1R
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) February 13, 2020
Henry being Henry.
View this post on Instagram
Showing my girl the next belt I’m going to snatch! @alexvolkanovski I’m coming for your belt you over grown midget! Quadruple C in the making! #bendtheknee #beltcollector #golddigger +
Now now @HenryCejudo, don’t go making empty promises on #ValentinesDay https://t.co/cXWgQATb9d
— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) February 14, 2020
When you get invited to dinner but your on the menu! @HenryCejudo @alexvolkanovski pic.twitter.com/5kjM4PNyKB
— Kai Kara France (@kaikarafrance) February 14, 2020
Do it already so we can stop holding up the most exciting division in the @UFC! https://t.co/BPuxVaiEDe
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) February 13, 2020
X #March7th pic.twitter.com/As1NhsGc0c
— Darren Till (@darrentill2) February 13, 2020
You’ve waited a long time for this one! @criscyborg V @1LadyCecilia Coming winter 2037 pic.twitter.com/SDOAajqB0d
— Grand Slam Champ Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) February 13, 2020
We tried to make this fight in 2019,but was told to wait.@criscyborg wanted a boxing match first. If that is not the case anymore than let us know,we are here and ready to make this historical fight #allthebelts https://t.co/DzOnPu2aKk
— Cecilia Brækhus (@1LadyCecilia) February 13, 2020
Good for Juan.
An hour after i tweeted i was out of the ufc i got an offer for more money and fight soon. #blessed
— Juan Adams mma (@chosenjuan285) February 14, 2020
Honor to have received my #brownbelt today in #bjj from @jairlourenco ! pic.twitter.com/mFc8dFoghl
— Ryan Bader (@ryanbader) February 13, 2020
Paul Hughes (4-0) vs. Youri Panada (4-1); Cage Warriors, March 7.
Nick Newell (16-3) vs. Zach Zane (14-9); Bellator 241, March 13.
Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday.
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.
Full Story Via MMA Fighting – All Posts