UFC light heavyweight Gegard Mousasi has been viewed as one of the top prospects in MMA for years with 22 wins in his last 25 tilts including success against a number of respected opponents. However, the 27-year old has never been able to truly prove his worth until now based on the bulk of the sport’s top stars calling the UFC home. Though he’ll have to wait a little while before getting his hands on a Top 10 opponent based on an untimely cut suffered by UFC on Fuel 9 opponent Alexander Gustafsson, Mousasi is still psyched about the opportunities in front of him now that he’s finally taken his talents to the Octagon.
“Sometimes I wonder if I had spent my career in the UFC a lot earlier, then maybe I would have went a lot further with everything. But I started my career in Japan, and I have different roots,” admitted Mousasi in a recent interview with MMAWeekly. “I could’ve reached a lot more if I would have done things correctly in the past, but so far I cannot complain. I have a good record, but maybe if I did things better in the past, I’d be further in my class, higher in my career.”
With a chance to compete against elite adversaries with hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake in front of him, Mousasi is happy to have finally arrived and believes he’s made a few necessary changes to facilitate his rise to becoming the top 205er in the game.
“It kind of excites me to be where these other guys are, at the top of the division. These things motivate me, now. Maybe in the past I lacked in that because of… some frustrations. I feel like now I’m getting the opportunity to make something out of it,” said Mousasi. “I’m more serious. I have coaches in all areas now. In the past I would just train myself. So, I’m taking things more serious. I’m more professional. I train right; that’s what I feel I haven’t done in the past. And mentally I think I’ve grown. I’m more mature.”
“I know for sure I can fight any of these guys and beat them,” he concluded. “Now it’s a matter of fighting them. I can talk all I want, but now I have to go out and perform against these top names. I feel like I belong at the top, for sure.”
The 33-3-2 Mousasi is set to meet newcomer Ilir Latifi (7-2) in the main event of Saturday’s show. He will be going for his fourth win in a row, stopping Mike Kyle with strikes this past January in his previous pairing.
PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY