If anyone can be in a position to tell a fighter when to hang ‘em up, it’s probably best coming from another pro. Someone who’s also spent years of their life battling inside the Octagon and around the world as a mixed martial artist, competing at the highest level. They’re certainly going to have more insight on the emotional pull of competition and the physical requirements of the job than most fans and pundits sitting at home.
So it’s with that in mind that current Bellator champ, and former Chris Weidman opponent, Gegard Mousasi had some advice to impart to the former UFC middleweight king. Weidman is working to recover from a nasty leg break suffered at the hands (shins?) of Uriah Hall back in April. Despite a recent hitch in his rehab, it still sounds like Weidman is intent on returning to competition. A decision Mousasi implored him to reconsider in a recent appearance on the What the Heck podcast (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“It’s not nice to see a fight like that. You don’t wish that on anybody,” Mousasi said, speaking of Weidman’s recent injury.
“If it was me and if I had 29 surgeries, I would say this is not good. And especially if you get knocked out three or four times in a row, and then you break your leg in a bad way where it’s going to take a year to recover, at this age — he’s a little bit older than me I think, 37 maybe, and he’s going to come back at 38 or 39 — it’s difficult to come back. And then how long are you going to continue? At 38 or 39, you’re over your peak. You know what I mean?
“It’s not like you’re going to get better, especially coming [off] losses, losses, losses,” Mousasi continued. “That’s my opinion — I wouldn’t continue. If I had a serious injury like that, I would right away stop fighting at his age. At his age, I would retire.”
Mousasi did add that he felt it would be possible for Weidman to mount a comeback, but given the traumatic nature of the injury, it’d be very difficult to get free of the anxiety that it could happen again.
Still, this is advice coming from one of MMA’s most notable iron men. The ‘Dreamcatcher’ started his pro career back in 2003. And while he has suffered the occasional bruise and bump over his nearly 20-year career, when he steps in the cage against John Salter at Bellator 264 on Friday, August 13th it will mark 17 out of 18 years of competition where the Iranian-born Dutch fighter has stepped inside the cage at least once. The fact that he’s still doing so with a major title around his waist is all the more remarkable. It’s a lot easier to say it’s time for someone else to walk away when you’re still on top of your game.
Bellator 264 will go down at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Alongside the middleweight main event, the card is expected to feature a welterweight action bout between former champion Andrey Koreshkov and UFC vet Sabah Homasi. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and notes as fight night approaches.