Not that long ago, Gegard Mousasi was known for his unflappable stoicism both in and outside of the cage. But with the recent direction the UFC has taken regarding matchmaking, all of that is out the window and Mousasi is speaking his mind.
Mousasi is coming off an impressive 2016 which saw him score four wins over ranked middleweights, three of them knockouts. He’s set to take on yet another ranked opponent this weekend at UFC 210, former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Under normal circumstances, a win this weekend would all but guarantee Mousasi a title shot, but nothing is normal about the UFC middleweight division these days.
Currently, the middleweight division has a backlog of qualified competitors waiting in limbo while champion Michael Bisping defends his belt against former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Bisping’s title run has been fraught with criticism for eschewing higher ranked opponents in favor of “money fights.” Fans and fighters alike have lambasted the UFC for booking these matchups and Mousasi recently boiled over at the “silly fights” that, he feels, have denied him a chance to fight for the belt.
“At first they made the Dan Henderson fight that didn’t make any sense.” Mousasi told the Fight Society podcast recently. “The number one contender didn’t fight then. Now they’re making the GSP fight and Michael Bisping hasn’t fought for a long time. So the number one contender has to wait again. If the number one contenders would have fought in those two fights, I would have been next by now but because the UFC is making these silly fights, [I] get pushed around. So now if I win, I’m going to have to put everything on the line again and get another win and then maybe I’m next. And still maybe, because who knows what fight they’re going to make after this.
“I deserve [a title shot]. ‘Jacare’ has deserved a shot already. Yoel Romero deserves his shot. Why aren’t we getting our title shots? What can I say. They’re just stalling or whatever. Now they’re saying GSP may not want to fight until January or whatever. Make GSP fight Anderson Silva. If they want to have a super fight, make GSP vs. Anderson. Even if he wins, he’s going to vacate the title. It’s as simple as that. He’s not going to defend against a top middleweight. He’s just looking for a fight and then he will go. He will go fight somebody else.”
The fallout from the UFC’s new style of booking has led to Bisping catching a lot of flak from other 185-pounders who say he is dodging the top competition. But Mousasi thinks that is misplaced aggression. The former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion says that Bisping is acting reasonably in this situation and that the UFC is to blame for all of this.
“[Bisping]’s got to do what’s good for him and his family. He’s going to try to make some money and retire. You cannot blame the guy who wants to make money and take care of the future of his family. You can’t blame the guy. If I was to blame, I would blame the UFC for making those fights. They shouldn’t make those fights. Like I said, they should have made Anderson vs. GSP because GSP hasn’t fought in three years and he’s never fought at middleweight. How can he get a title shot? It doesn’t make any sense. Make up different fights.”
Mousasi’s ire with the UFC may also have something to do with his paychecks from them. The UFC currently has several fighters ranked below Mousasi who make substantially more than him and that rubs Mousasi the wrong way.
“I just see that Vitor Belfort is making tons more money than me. I defeated Dan Henderson, he’s making tons more money than me. I defeated Mark Hunt. He’s making $800,000 a fight. I can beat Michael Bisping and even before he was champion he was making a lot more than me. Why don’t I deserve to make some money? . . . How is it possible Mark Hunt is making $800,000 with a record of 10-10? He has a record of 10 wins, 10 losses. Look at my record. How the f**k is that possible?”
As a former multiple division champion in other organizations, and one of the absolute best 185-pound fighters in the world today, Mousasi doesn’t think he is getting paid the full value of his worth. However, his fight this weekend is the last on his contract. Instead of re-signing with the UFC beforehand, Mousasi has opted to wait so as to maximize his leverage and secure a better deal for himself. It’s a risky strategy that puts even more pressure on Mousasi to win this weekend, but Mousasi says he’s ready to bet big on himself.
“It comes all down to this fight. That’s why I trained so hard for this fight. It’s not because I want to beat Chris Weidman. It’s because I need to get paid, and I’m going to get paid. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Gegard Mousasi faces Chris Weidman in the co-main event of UFC 210 this Saturday in Buffalo, New York.
Comeback. Ray Longo says Chris Weidman is ready to “write his comeback story.”
Reform. ABC medical committee to recommend weight-cutting reform plan.
Free fight from over the weekend.
Rory airing some grievances with the UFC pay.
Imagine this rematch happening today.
Mousasi documentary series.
Anik and Flo.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Snoop commentating things is the best thing on the internet.
The beef continues.
Felder getting it from all angles.
Seems like a good fight.
Happy birthday @YoelRomeroMMA ---hopefully when you blow out the candle, you'll wish for... nm, who are we kidding... no will fight him— malki kawa (@malkikawa) April 3, 2017
Hey Kevin, Ariel follows me. NBD.
I just cleaned up my timeline, unfollowed 1000 people so I can use twitter more and @arielhelwani can follow me— Kevin Lee (@MoTownPhenom) April 3, 2017
In case y’all wanna set your DVRs.
Naoki Inoue (10-0) vs. Carls John De Tomas (6-0); UFC Fight Night: Singapore, June 17.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
That’s all for today, folks. Conor bless and see y’all tomorrow.
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