Legendary middleweight Gegard Mousasi returns to the cage this Thursday at Bellator 250. When he does, he’ll have a shot to reclaim the middleweight title he lost last year to Rafael Lovato Jr.
What has transpired since that fight is nearly unthinkable. A potentially career-ending medical condition forced Lovato to relinquish the title. He has not fought since. Then the world itself came to a screeching halt thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. A plan to pair up Mousasi and welterweight champ Douglas Lima wound up on hold.
The light at the end of the tunnel, for Mousasi, is that the fight will finally go down this week. Speaking at the Bellator 250 media day this week, the former Strikeforce champ admitted that he was “just a little bit” disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to win his belt back from Lovato.
“I felt like I could have won that fight. So I wanted to prove that. But you know, I lost before. I moved on. I don’t have a sleepless night over it,” said Mousasi.
While Mousasi now has Douglas Lima to contend with, another legend of the middleweight division will retire this weekend. Anderson Silva’s final fight will come at UFC Vegas 12 on Saturday. While the pair never crossed paths in the cage, they shared the same home twice, in PRIDE and the UFC. And Mousasi is very familiar with Silva’s final opponent, Uriah Hall.
Asked about “The Spider” making his exit, Mousasi espoused that “he had a great career. I think in his prime, he looked unbeatable. He provided a lot of memorable fights and is definitely a legend of the sport.” That said, the Dutch fighter added that Silva “maybe continued a little longer than then he should have,” and that he “tarnished his legacy just at the end.”
Mousasi does believe Silva was one of the greatest. And that’s what he will be remembered for. But the idea of hanging around too long is something that Mousasi himself is concerned with. For him, it’s all about results.
“Training was better than ever. I’m stronger physically, mentally as of this moment,” Mousasi said of his current state. “If I keep winning [then] lose, win, lose— that’s a sign that you’re not what you think you are,” he added. In his case, “I think I’ve lost one in the last 10, 11 fights, I don’t know.” Clearly enough to still be competitive.
There is a deadline, however. Mousasi is now 35. “After this year, two more years, that’s got to be certain. And then after that, look at the body. Look at the results,” he stated. “And then we got to decide if we go to maybe another year, but I’m not going to continue to 40, that’s one thing for sure.”
Watch the full Bellator 250 virtual media day press scrum with Gegard Mousasi above.