Gegard Mousasi maintained that the only reason he accepted his UFC Belfast main event with Uriah Hall was to avenge the loss he suffered to the Jamaican in September 2015, as he didn’t see how a win over the unpredictable middleweight would bring him closer to a title shot.
While the former DREAM and Strikeforce champion definitely has a point, the timing of his first round TKO at the SSE Arena win couldn’t have been better.
Just a week after he claimed his revenge over Hall, fellow middleweight contender Robert Whittaker took the biggest win of his career in Melbourne with a TKO victory over knockout artist Derek Brunson.
Immediately after the Kiwi’s win, fans began their usual speculative matchmaking, and the most prominent name brought up to be Whittaker’s next test was that of Mousasi’s.
Like many others, ‘The Dreamcatcher’ was critical of Brunson’s reckless performance, which undoubtedly was one of the biggest factors in his streak slaying loss.
“It was a really tough fight, but I think Brunson made an awful lot of mistakes,” Mousasi said.
“He came in like it was a street fight and he looked very sloppy. Whittaker weathered the storm and then he came back, it was a very good performance from him.
“Derek Brunson is a dangerous guy, so I was impressed with Whittaker. Brunson would be a very good matchup for me. If UFC made that fight that would be very nice.”
Fans are unlikely to be up in arms if the UFC did put that fight together, but a contest pitting Whittaker against Mousasi seems to make a lot more sense. Both men appear to be just outside the ranks of the top contenders—Romero, Souza, Rockhold and Weidman—so, the winner of their bout would likely join the fray for Michael Bisping’s middleweight title.
“I think Whittaker is definitely a good fight for me at the moment,” he highlighted.
“He’s on a good winning streak at the moment. UFC are probably going to do Rockhold versus ‘Jacare’ again, and that will probably determine who will be the next guy to fight for the title.
“Those guys are ahead of me. I’m just below that. I feel like I’m in the same place as Whittaker, let’s say. If we fought each other that would show who would be the next guy in line for the title shot too. I think that’s how UFC would see it. It’s definitely a fight that makes sense for me.
“There are other fights that make sense for me too—Luke Rockhold, Nick Diaz, Anderson Silva—those guys always make sense to me.
“Whittaker definitely makes sense for me now, though. He’s coming off a knockout win and he is becoming a contender in the division. It’s definitely a fight I would say yes to.”
Mousasi believes that Whittaker would go into a clash with him as the firm underdog, but he still was full of praise for the New Zealander’s presence of mind during his last outing.
“If I fought Whittaker I would be a huge favorite. I believe I’m better everywhere and I would prove that if we fought.
“Whittaker is a very composed guy as he showed in Melbourne last weekend. He really showed us that he knows what he’s doing against Brunson. He showed us that he is a lot more experienced than people give him credit for,” explained Mousasi.
“Even with all of that, I think if I fought him I would beat him easily.”
Despite his four-fight winning streak, Mousasi is still unsure that one more win would put him into contention for the title. Yet, as far as he is concerned, if he puts on a better showing in his fight than the other contenders do, he could be fast-tracked to the belt.
“It depends on how the other fights in the division unfold. If Rockhold fought ‘Jacare’ and neither of the guys had a good performance, and I went out and destroyed my next opponent, I think I could skip the queue and go for the belt.
“That could be the situation, I could just be one more fight away from the belt. On the other hand, they might say that I have to fight again. I know I’m very close and I feel like I deserve it.
“That’s not just because I have a win streak going, it’s because I have a whole history of fighting behind me, and I think that’s enough to win me a title shot.”
After his short night of work in Northern Ireland, Mousasi would like to be back in Octagon within the next four months.
“I’ve already said that I want to be back in February or March. Whittaker and Rockhold are definitely the fights that I’m looking for. If UFC come to me with Rockhold, Diaz or Silva, I’ll take them too.”
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