Johnny Eblen dethroned Gegard Mousasi in a shockingly one-sided performance at Bellator 282 this past Friday. But for Eblen and the rest of American Top Team (ATT), it was not shocking at all.
The ‘Human Cheat Code’ dominated the ‘Dreamcatcher’ in every department, outstriking and outwrestling the former Bellator middleweight champion for a clean sweep on the judges’ scorecards. The outcome was expected by Eblen, who previously said that he wouldn’t be ‘shocking the world’ when he dethroned Mousasi. So when he heard “And New,” it sounded and felt right.
“Expected,” said Eblen during his post-fight press conference (video provided by MMA Fighting). “That’s pretty much it. It sounds like what it’s supposed to sound like. During this whole week, I knew this was going to happen. I had moments of doubt, but I worked through them like anybody else, any other hard-working man in the universe. Now, I’m a champion.”
There was some extra motivation for Eblen before he fought Mousasi. Confident he would successfully defend his championship again, the ex-champion predicted a finish of the undefeated upstart.
That prediction turned out to be wrong, and it was actually Eblen who nearly got a finish after dropping Mousasi with a right hand in the first round.
“I expected it,” said Eblen. “I know a lot of haters and a lot of doubters doubted me. They said I was going to get finished. He even thought he was going to finish me within three [rounds], but I knew he was wrong.”
Now sitting atop the division, Eblen said he would like to take some time off before returning for his first defense. He has no opponent in mind, but whoever it is, he will be ready.
“I got to let this shin heal,” said Eblen. “Need to take at least a couple weeks off. I’d fight next weekend, but you’d have to pay me really good.”