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Interview: Gegard Mousasi still dealing with sponsorship issues, talks Mayweather vs Pacquiao, Rousey vs Cyborg

In this interview with BloodyElbow.com, middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi talks about various topics including Fear the Fighter still not paying him, the Reebok deal, his co-headlining UFC: Manila bout, and many more.

Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Gegard Mousasi is currently set to take on Costas Philippou next month as the co-headliner on the UFC's maiden trip to the Philippines. While currently preparing for his UFC: Manila bout, the #7 ranked middleweight took some time off from his busy schedule for a phone interview with BloodyElbow.com. The usually calm and stoic fighter discussed various topics, and seen below is the Q&A exchange.

BloodyElbow.com: Hi Gegard, has anyone stolen from you this week?

Gegard Mousasi: Oh, no no no. [Laughs] This time nothing has been stolen, at least for these couple of months. [Laughs]

BE: Speaking of, Fear the Fighter, what has happened with that situation? Have they paid you already?

Gegard: No, they haven't paid me yet, but my manager is working on it.  My manager is dealing with it, so I don't know a lot about it, but they haven't paid.

BE: You've already had trouble with sponsors, so I'd like to hear your thoughts on the new Reebok deal. Do you think it could be better for you?

Gegard: I don't know. I will have to wait and see because nothing has been announced about the Reebok deal on what the numbers will be. I think they're still figuring it out with the rankings and the payment of the fighters.

On one hand I think it's good because you don't have to deal with finding sponsorships, but on the other hand it's all about how much they pay you.  That's all. We have to wait and see.

BE: They say they're going to base that pay off of your ranking, do you think that's a good idea?

Gegard: I don't know, because you have fighters that aren't ranked very high, but are very popular, so I think they have to figure out something. We have fighters that may be ranked even below top 10 but still have a lot of big followers. That's something they have to figure out.

BE: Okay, switching gears, am I correct in assuming that you will have your entire fight camp in the Netherlands?

Gegard: Yes, this fight I've been training in Holland, and so far it's been going great. I think fight day will be one of the best shapes I have ever been, so it's doing good.

BE: I saw you're working with Satoshi Ishii and Glory champ Rico Verhoeven there, who else are you training with?

Gegard: I've been training with a lot of good guys that I've known for a long time. They're not active fighters, but they have very good skillsets. I have a lot of sparring partners, a lot of Polish friends and fighters that have come up to train with me, but no one really 'famous' let's say. No big names.

BE: Speaking of Satoshi, do you think he'll ever make it to the UFC? Even before he had his first pro fight, he was already scouted but it hasn't panned out.

Gegard: He will definitely be in the UFC I think. It's just a matter of time. Against Crocop, he was winning, and both times he was ahead. One time he got caught, and the other he was cut in his eye. He definitely has all the skillsets to be in the UFC.

BE: In the past, you've mentioned ‘mental blocks', how do you deal with that?

Gegard: After my last fight, I took a lot of time off. I've been working with David, he's helping me with diet and food schedule. The training is doing good and I am seeing big results. I know going in the fight, mentally and physically I'm ready. I feel great and I just can't wait to fight. Mentally and everything will be good on fight day.

BE:  So did you make any specific adjustments to prepare for or avoid any of that past ‘mental block'?

Gegard: I think the good thing is to take time off. To make you want to fight again and be hungry again. I think the timing should be good, and that I'm ready without injuries, and I feel like fighting. Of course, I think the training is the most important. If the training is going good, you are going to feel mentally great and you are going to fight well.

I think I've focused a lot on this training and the results of this training, and I think that's going to show in the fight.

BE: You've fought at light heavyweight and middleweight, but what weight do you walk around at?

Gegard: I'm walking around normally at 95 or 97, but now I'm at around 91 kilos.

BE: In your last bout, Dan Henderson complained about an early stoppage, what are your thoughts on that?

Gegard: Well I don't think it was an early stoppage. He was out, and the referee did a good job. If the fight wouldn't have been stopped then, he was bleeding from inside his eye and it would have been stopped anyway. I think it was a good stoppage, and health is the most important thing and that he can still fight again.

BE: It's been 4 years since your last fight in Japan. Does going back to Asia have any special significance for you?

Mentally, and the work she puts into her training, is way above the girls that she's fighting -Mousasi on training with Ronda Rousey

Gegard: Yeah, definitely. I've never been to Manila, Philippines, but I've heard a lot of good things about it. I'm excited. It's a new experience for me. I've heard good things. It has sunny weather, and it's good to fight in Asia again. I've always liked the Asian culture so I'm happy to fight there again.

BE: On the times you've fought in Japan, have you ever dealt with jetlag or other issues that have hindered your performance?

Gegard: I have never had problems with that, but for the Philippines, I'm going to arrive a day earlier (than planned) for one more day of adjustment time. I'll be more prepared because I'll have a day longer to adjust to the Philippine time.

BE: Alright. I asked because some Japanese fighters have complained about the travel issues when competing in the US, and you've been doing almost the opposite.

Gegard: Yeah, every fighter has that. You have to adjust and you need two to three days, but normally I don't have a problem with it.

BE: What are your thoughts on your opponent? Costas is also a good striker, but where do you think you have advantages over him?

Gegard: I want to get three fights this year, and this is a good step to get closer to a title shot. He looks like a physically strong guy, and I think he has good boxing. He has good power punches, and I think his hands are very good. Other than that, I think I have the advantage everywhere.

BE: A bit off topic, but what are your thoughts on Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr?

Gegard: I hope Manny Pacquiao wins. I think Pacquiao would've won the fight if it happened 5 years ago. 100% he would've won. But now, Mayweather picked the time of the fight, he picked when they fight.

I think Floyd Mayweather is smart for fighting Manny Pacquiao now, than 5 years ago. Now I think Floyd has a little bit of a better chance, but I'm still rooting for Manny Pacquiao.

BE: I know you've trained with Ronda Rousey in the past (video here). Do you think any woman out there can compete with her?

Gegard: She's great. I think the results are there to see. The thing is, I think she's mentally -- and with her work ethic and the work she puts into her training -- is way above the girls that she's fighting.

BE: Do you think the fight against Cyborg would ever happen?

Gegard: I heard that Cyborg signed with the UFC, and if she can make 135, she will fight. I think because everyone wants to see that fight, I think eventually it will happen.

BE: Hopefully it doesn't take as long as Pacquiao and Mayweather though.

Gegard: No no no. [Laughs].