Gegard Mousasi tells Tony Reid his thoughts on fighter pay, earning title shots and Chris Weidman ahead of UFC 210 on Saturday night (April 8).
Tony Reid: You have been asking for a top five guy at middleweight. Now you have the opportunity to fight former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman in his home state this weekend at UFC 210 in Buffalo, New York. Are you happy with the match-up?
Gegard Mousasi: One-hundred percent. Weidman is a former champion and he is still considered one of the best. It’s time to make a statement and that’s what I plan on doing.
TR: In your words he is somewhat predictable and slow. You also said he will not secure a takedown in the fight. All that being said, how do you envisage the fight playing out once the Octagon door shuts behind you two Saturday night?
GM: I am just too good for him. It’s as simple as that. I have better footwork, better hands and better stand-up. He is a good wrestler. He is a physically strong individual but he is not that explosive and he is not that fast. To get the takedown he has to set it up with punches. This is not wrestling. I work wrestling defense. I don’t need to become a wrestler. I am an MMA fighter and I just need to defend takedowns. I am prepared for this fight.
TR: Another loss for Weidman will be three in a row. That is never good news. Do you feel he has already peaked with the wins over Silva and the short title run?
GM: He can come back. We have to still fight but he is still a top five guy. Some fighters who weren’t doing so well eventually came back and became world champions again. Robbie Lawler is a good example. When he came back to the UFC he was suddenly the best and became a champion.
TR: A win for you has to put you right in the mix for a title shot. Is that the thought with a definitive win over Weidman this weekend?
GM: I feel that I deserve it. With a win over Weidman I feel like I earned my title shot. It’s up to the UFC. I need to get this one first. I am concentrating on getting this win first and then I will see how things play out.
TR: Speaking of the middleweight title, there might be a traffic jam at the top of the division with the potential super fight between Michael Bisping and George St. Pierre. I assume you are not overly happy with the situation…
GM: There are other guys who deserve the shot. They shouldn’t make the GSP fight. Let Yoel Romero fight for the title. Then the next guy should be in line. Let GSP fight Anderson. As a fighter, GSP will pick an opponent that he feels that he can beat. He feels he can beat Bisping and Bisping feels the same way, that he has a better chance of beating GSP than he does Yoel Romero. I don’t blame those guys. Maybe GSP want to be a two-division champion. Everybody has their reasons. Everyone wants to make money. It’s the UFC that can schedule the fights. Let people earn the title shots and not hand them out because they are popular.
TR: Michael Bisping is the current champion in the middleweight division, but you feel as though he may be the weakest fighter in the top five…
GM: He wasn’t the number on contender. He just filled in when Weidman got hurt. He got an opportunity that other fighters have earned but not received. Against anyone in the top five he would be an underdog. He is planning to retire. All of the other guys toward the top are close to 40 years old. I will be one of those guys that will be around for a few years yet. I know my chance will come and I will get my title shot.
TR: Do you feel like you will be the last man standing?
GM: Eventually. These guys are close to 40 and USADA is testing. They will have a hard time still fighting. I guarantee you that. It’s not like the old days where you can fight until you are fifty. It’s not possible.
TR: You have issues with the UFC pay scale and what certain fighters are earning. How content are you with your current pay scale and what are you looking to do contractually moving forward?
GM: Everybody wants to make more money. I just want my fair share. I’m not asking more than what’s fair. After the win, I know what I’m worth and we will see how it goes.
TR: You stated that fans want their champions to be bad guys. Can you speak to that fact that your words have been getting more attention of late and tell us what that has done for your promotional value under the new entertainment-focused ownership group?
GM: We saw what McGregor did. He lost to Nate Diaz. He skipped the whole line. He won one, barely. Then he got a title shot. Other fighters deserved the shot. Then you see what Michael Bisping did. He got a title shot because he was popular. Even Donald Trump, he is the President. If you can become the President by promising things you aren’t going to do… I don’t know. It makes a big difference. People want drama. They don’t want honesty.
TR: Will we see ‘Mousasi for President’ signs popping up before the next election?
GM: I wasn’t born in the U.S., otherwise maybe I would run for government.