Gegard Mousasi will go up against the biggest challenge of his 11 year career at this Saturday’s Fight Night 36, in the form of former light-heavyweight kingpin Lyoto Machida. It’s fair to say that Mousasi has never faced a fighter of Machida’s calibre, although he championed Dream, Strikeforce and Cage Warriors.
A lot of people are writing Mousasi off ahead of his bout with ‘The Dragon’, something that ‘The Dreamcatcher’ is having a hard time understanding. Check out what Mousasi had to say to ESPN recently:
“I don’t get a lot of credit, When I fought Denis Kang, Renato Sobral and Melvin Mahoef (in 2008), they were much better then. At that time, Kang was on top. A couple years later, he was losing to everybody.”
“When I beat [Ronaldo] "Jacare" Souza, he wasn’t a big name. Mark Hunt -- no one knew who these guys were. Now they are doing very well. It depends how people look at it and people usually look at it negatively with me.”
Mousasi has beaten a lot of top fighters during his time as a pro, and the fact that they hadn’t reached their prime at that point shouldn’t hold weight against Mousasi. He has not quite, in my opinion, had the fight that truly takes him to the next level. That limelight will only come with a win against Machida.
“I don’t know how people look at it. I’ve seen so many fighters getting knocked out. I’ve never been knocked out. I’ve never been hurt in a fight. But people don’t look at those things. Vitor Belfort has been knocked out a couple of times. No one looks at it that way. I’m a solid fighter. I don’t know. Everyone has an opinion, but I am always underrated.”
“My goal was to fight for the belt. At that time, Anderson Silva was the champ so of course, I wanted to fight him. I was thinking about it. But I just want the belt. That’s my goal. Who has it now is not that important. I perform better at 185 and I will get an easier title shot here.”
Whether a title shot at middleweight is easy or not is quite debatable, but its likely that he would be at a natural disadvantage with the taller fighters at 205. Mousasi has an opportunity to prove his worth against the ex-champ Machida, but will it prove to be too much of a test for Mousasi?