Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi is being thrown right to the wolves in his first UFC bout, where he will face off with top contender Alexander Gustafsson on April 6th in Sweden at UFC on Fuel 9. Mousasi spoke to MMA Weekly about the matchup and he understands how important it is for him. After all, a win could put him right into the number one contender's spot in the division:
"I wanted to face a top opponent. He’s the No. 1 contender so fighting him would get me in line for a title shot. That’s the guy I want to fight," Mousasi told MMA Weekly on Sunday.
"It was him, (Lyoto) Machida or Shogun (Rua), and I mentioned them because I felt those were the names that fans would want to see, and they’re top contenders and obviously (Gustafsson) beat Shogun so he’s the number one, so I feel great fighting for this spot."
No one has said that the bout is a number one contender's fight yet, but with Gustafsson seemingly earning a title shot with his UFC on Fox 5 win over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, it doesn't take much of a leap in logic to see that it probably is:
"Gustafsson, he’s on a six fight winning streak, it’s hard to deny him a title shot. It’s definitely for number one contender’s spot, that’s the way I feel," said Mousasi.
For his part, Mousasi sounds genuinely thankful for the opportunity the UFC is giving him right away:
"I’m concentrating 100-percent and from that hopefully I will have that belt around my waist. That’s a big motivation, it’s within reach and it’s a possibility. That’s already giving me a lot of hope and that’s what I’m going for this year. We had a good start but now we are going for the big deal," said Mousasi.
"I want a fight so I can get a title shot. I don’t want to build anything up, or get build up fights or whatever. We’re going for the top and I’m happy that they are giving me the opportunity."
Personally, I can't wait for this fight. I've always been a big fan of both guys and I have no idea who to root for yet, but it should be an excellent bout.