Gegard Mousasi isn’t buying Rafael Lovato Jr.’s injury story, but he’s more than willing to fight Lyoto Machida in the meantime, as he looks to avenge a loss from their UFC days.
Los Angeles, CA — Gegard Mousasi is far from a trash talker, but at the same time, he’s always been a fighter willing to speak his mind. So speaking to Cageside Press at a media outing Wednesday for Bellator 228 in September, the former Bellator middleweight champion pulled no punches.
Simply put, last time out, against Rafael Lovato Jr, he “f*cked up,” he told us more than once. And, he noted, “I always do bad after injury.” Which is why he’s coming back relatively quickly, after losing his title to Lovato Bellator 223 last month. “When I’m more active, I’m in better shape. I have to do less, I don’t get burned out easier. A shorter training camp, keep training, and I get in the cage more hungry.”
Plus, he’s back “because Lovato said he’s injured.” Not that Mousasi is buying it. “I don’t think he’s injured, but he says he’s injured.” Otherwise, a rematch between the two might have been expected.
“It’s a game. Fighting is a game, they play their part. I keep busy,” Mousasi said of the never ending dance of opponents in combat sports. Fighters sign on, fights fall through. It’s nothing new to veterans, or even longtime fans. “I’m going to fight Machida anyway. What does it matter, now or later? If there’s a belt on the line or not? He’s a big name in Bellator, so I keep busy, and then I fight Lovato again next.”
In recent interviews, Mousasi had said fighting was just a job to him. It caused many to question his drive, so he set the record straight Wednesday. “I f*cked up last time, with those interviews I said ‘I don’t like fighting, it’s a job.’ I think it showed in the fight. So we’re going to change that. We’re going to change the training schedule. Every training camp is different. This one is shorter, because it’s close to the last one.”
If nothing else, it sounds like Mousasi has that fire back. “I’m going to make things different so I can perform better. I always come back stronger. I learn my lesson. I always evaluate what I did wrong, and I’m sure we’ll get back better,” he continued.
How does Lyoto Machida 2019 differ from the one Gegard Mousasi faced in 2014? Well, for one, “he’s older.” More seriously, “he looks still good. He looks good,” Mousasi admitted. “But I got better. The problem with me, sometimes I get in the cage not wanting to fight. Or I fight a certain way, with some mentality, I go in the cage and f*ck it up. It’s not going to happen this time. I want to avenge that loss. I’m going to go 100% for this fight.”
Knowing the bout is just “three rounds, I’m going to leave it all in the cage. If I lose, I lose, but I’m going to go in trying to knock him out, not trying to score points. I think I will do very well this fight.”
Looking back at Bellator 223, Mousasi was blunt. “I think Lovato fight, I f*cked up, I f*cked up. Coming from an injury having 10, 11 weeks training camp — not excuse, but you see small things pile up, and then it becomes a big problem. Because at a fight, small margins make a big difference. If it’s a margin here, margin here, margin there, it comes up to failure.”
This time, Mousasi feels his motivation will be there. “I’m going to train less maybe, because I’m in shape already, and then get in there more willing to fight. A little bit of fire under the ass is always good.”
As for his plans on finishing out his career, oft talked about of late, “first beat Machida, then there’s the title fight. Middleweight. Then maybe we’ll see what the options are, light heavyweight, welterweight,” Mousasi told us. “That was also the plan before I lost to Lovato. Now it’s comeback. The dream is a little bit shattered, don’t you think? But it makes for a good comeback.”
Finishing with a message to fans, Mousasi said “I appreciate them very much. They always support me in the bad times. And to my haters, suck it!”