Morning Report: Gegard Mousasi wants to fight Ryan Bader next: ‘People are going to say I’m beating welterweights’

Earlier this week, it was announced that Gegard Mousasi would face welterweight champion Douglas Lima for the vacant Bellator middleweight title at Bellator 243 this summer. The title fight came about because middleweight champion Rafael Lovato Jr. , who won the belt from Mousasi, was forced to step away from the sport due to a serious medical condition. In the interim, Mousasi is now getting a shot at regaining the belt he lost but the former champion already has bigger plans on the horizon: the Bellator light heavyweight belt.

Speaking with Luke Thomas yesterday, Mousasi, who had spoken about retiring if he lost a rematch to Lovato, says that all that talk is out of his head now and that he’s focused on not just reclaiming the middleweight title, but leaving a legacy in Bellator.

“No, no, no. I understood that’s a bad mentality to have,” Mousasi said about thoughts of retirement. “I just signed a new contract. I’m going to fight for Bellator championship and maybe [Ryan] Bader next. I have to go first beat Douglas Lima and after that, some accomplishments before I retire. Maybe a light heavyweight title, maybe fight in Rizin, I don’t know. Who knows? Things to leave some history behind.”

Mousasi is already one of the more accomplished fighters in the sport, having held titles in Bellator, Cage Warriors, and Strikeforce, as well as holding both the middleweight and light heavyweight title in DREAM. But Mousasi says that’s not enough for him because his middleweight title run was a little lacking. After winning the title with a TKO of Rafael Carvalho, Mousasi then stopped welterweight champion Rory MacDonald. Now with Mousasi set to face another welterweight champion, he says he needs to reach for a bigger challenge to solidify his legacy in the promotion.

“100 percent,” Mousasi said when asked if he had spoken to Bellator about fighting Bader next. “I think now two welterweights have come up, people are going to say he’s beating welterweights. So I think a big name to beat – but I have to go first through Douglas Lima. I’m not thinking, ‘Yeah, okay, Douglas Lima, I’m going to beat him’. But if I succeed in that? Light heavyweight is the biggest name out there. That’s just for the accomplishment.”

A victory over Ryan Bader would certainly be a huge feather in Mousasi’s cap as Bader is not just the Bellator light heavyweight champion, but the heavyweight champion as well. And it’s not like Mousasi himself is a stranger to competing at 205. Mousasi was the Strikeforce and Dream light heavyweight champion and has regularly competed in both divisions. But Mousasi says that’s not likely to be the case going forward. Assuming everything goes to plan and he does win the light heavyweight title, Mousasi says he will vacate one belt because he’s not trying to live the champ-champ life.

“That’s only for one fight,” Mousasi explained. “After that I’m going to relinquish the title because I can’t be defending light heavyweight and middleweight. It’s just a one-time deal.”

And if Bellator decides they aren’t interested? That’s no skin off Mousasi’s nose either. The ever-stoic former champion says he’s not actually that interested in becoming yet another champ-champ; he’s just interested in a fight that’s going to reestablish himself as one of the best in the world. So if Bellator would prefer he stay at middleweight, that’s fine by him also, but he believes Bellator is interested in making that fight too.

“I don’t care that much about [being a double champion] but I think it’s a fight that’s going to put me back on top again,” Mousasi concluded. “Beating a guy like Bader, that’s a big thing. Who else is there at middleweight? There’s not a lot of big names. But I’m also happy to stay at middleweight. I don’t care to be honest but yeah, I think Bellator also wants to have that fight so I’m open for it.”

Bellator 242 is set to take place on May 9th at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. The main event will feature Ryan Bader defending his light heavyweight title for the first time in two years against Vadim Nemkov. Mousasi will face Lima for the middleweight title in the co-main event.


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Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday.


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