After capturing the Bellator middleweight title on Friday with a first-round TKO of Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 200, Mousasi made it his first priority to call out MacDonald in his post-fight interview. MacDonald responded in kind by immediately tagging Bellator officials on Twitter and requesting the fight, which led to a weekend-long social media campaign that saw Mousasi and MacDonald repeatedly lobby for the matchup to be made next.
Both fighters continued their calls for the booking Tuesday on The MMA Hour, with MacDonald asking fight fans to “put pressure” on Bellator officials via social media to make the superfight a reality, and Mousasi reiterating that a pairing against Bellator’s welterweight champion is the matchup he prefers for his first title defense.
“I think Rory is a big name. It’s a fight that everyone wants to see. I want to make the fight, I think Rory wants to make the fight,” Mousasi said on The MMA Hour. “Rory started with wanting to come up in weight and we like the fight, so he said it and we replied a hundred times, and now, I don’t know, it’s not up to me. Like Rory said, it’s up to Bellator.”
Mousasi, 32, and MacDonald, 28, even had a brief chance to exchange words on Tuesday’s show. MacDonald congratulated Mousasi on his title win and both men agreed that the champion vs. champion matchup is what they want next.
Afterward, though, one thing in particular about the chat seemed to stand out for Mousasi.
“I thought I was boring, but Rory is more boring than me,” Mousasi said, laughing. “So one of us has to be the bad guy, and I will take that role, no problem. I will be the bad guy. You need rivalries, so I’m going to be the bad guy in this one and Rory can be the good guy. He’s Canadian anyway, they’re always so friendly, so I’m the bad guy.
“The way he was talking was pretty boring, don’t you think so?” Mousasi added. “I was like that a couple years ago, but now it’s the fun Mousasi out.”
A potential Mousasi vs. MacDonald pairing wouldn’t be the first time in recent history that the MMA world would see Canadian welterweight move up to the middleweight division to challenge for a major 185-pound title.
MacDonald’s longtime teammate at Tristar, Georges St-Pierre, successfully accomplished the same feat in November 2017 when he dethroned Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight strap at UFC 217. St-Pierre overcame a significant size disadvantage to so, however Mousasi warned MacDonald not to put too much stock into comparing the two situations.
“Listen, I’m no Michael Bisping,” Mousasi said. “I know what GSP did, but believe me, I’m physically a lot stronger than Michael Bisping. Technically, I’m better. So it’s almost the same fight, GSP vs. Michael Bisping, but now it’s Rory against me. I think he doesn’t know. He’s a big welterweight, but still, he doesn’t have anything over me that I’m impressed by — let’s say wrestling, or standup, or he doesn’t have the reach, speed, the striking. So I don’t know. I’ve trained with Douglas Lima, he’s a tough kid, but I could feel the weight difference.
“I don’t know if [MacDonald] thinks it’s easy, but he will feel it in the fight,” Mousasi added. “I feel like I’m one of the strong middleweights, physically. If they’re not on steroids, I’m physically one of the strongest.”
Thus far Bellator officials have not been as receptive as both fighters had hoped to booking the superfight next, however Mousasi and MacDonald are still holding out hope that fan pressure can help the matchup come to fruition. For Mousasi, the alternatives for his first Bellator middleweight title defense are not nearly as compelling.
“There’s some Russian guy who fought on the same card, he’s good. There’s an American guy, bald guy, he’s good. There’s one jiu-jitsu guy, he’s good. I don’t know any of those names, to be honest,” Mousasi said. “They’re all contenders but you don’t know them, I don’t know them. So for me, if I go and fight them, if I lose to one of them, oh my God.
“They just need me to lose to somebody who doesn’t have a name, then they’re going to kill me, they’re going to bury me. But Rory is a big name. He’s a big name. If I win, people will know I have a win over a good fighter, a very well-known fighter. So of course it’s, for me, a win-win situation, [rather] than fighting a guy that no one knows.”
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