Earlier this morning, reports began to swirl that former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and long-time UFC middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi had abandoned the UFC ship and signed with Bellator MMA.
I’m hearing from a reliable source that Gegard Mousasi has signed with Bellator MMA. It’s one source but I’m trying to get confirmation now.
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) July 10, 2017
As suspected, Mousasi appeared on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour to confirm this news. The Iranian-Dutchman is indeed a Bellator fighter, and from the sounds of it, this is where he’ll reside for some time. Speaking to host Ariel Helwani, Mousasi explained that his deal with Bellator will span a sizeable six fights.
“I’m looking forward to be champion there,” Mousasi said. “If I achieve that, I look forward to going a division up and getting the 205 belt. But first the middleweight belt. That’s my goal.”
If Mousasi’s first goal is indeed the middleweight belt, he can expect an imminent showdown with reigning champion Rafael Carvalho, who recently dazzled with a head-kick knockout of Melvin Manhoef. Having not lost since his first pro bout, the 14-1 Carvalho is on a 14-fight win-streak.
The Bellator light heavyweight title, meanwhile, is now owned by another UFC veteran in Ryan Bader, who won it by defeating Phil Davis back in June.
Mousasi, who currently holds the number-four spot in the UFC middleweight rankings, and has served as the main event of five UFC cards, will enter the Bellator fold on a on a five-fight streak. This streak is composed of wins over Thales Leites, Thiago Santos, Vitor Belfort, Uriah Hall, and most recently, Chris Weidman. Only Leites survived till the final bell with the Dutch powerhouse.
Do you think the UFC made an error by failing to re-sign Gegard Mousasi?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/10/2017.