Better ‘suited’ for 185 pounds, Gegard Mousasi likely dropping to UFC’s middleweight ranks

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(L-R) Gegard Mousasi punches Ilir Latifi in their light heavyweight fight at the Ericsson Globe Arena on April 6, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Gegard Mousasi watched last weekend’s UFC on FX 8 card, and was impressed with Vitor Belfort’s knockout of former Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold.

Mousasi’s reaction to the outcome: Belfort did well. Watching the No. 2-ranked middleweight in the world was likely more homework than entertainment for the light heavyweight, however, as Mousasi now has his eyes set on a drop to 185 pounds.

“I think 185 is more suited for my body frame,” Mousasi told GRACIEMAG.com on Monday. “It’s a big possibility that I will go (down in weight class).”

Mousasi said that he is yet to discuss with the UFC about when he plans to drop to the middleweight division, but explained that he wants to maximize his strengths in the Octagon. The former Strikeforce and DREAM light heavyweight champion said that he’s confident moving to 185 pounds will maximize those strengths.

A few weeks ago, the fighter wrote on Twitter, asking what people thought about a drop to middleweight. The response was positive, Mousasi said. And despite previous reluctancy to cut the weight necessary to make 185, the Dutch-Armenian mixed martial artist said he is now more open to the idea.

“The last couple of fights … I didn’t need a lot of weight cutting. It was much easier to make the weight,” Mousasi said, adding that in his last fight, a match with last-minute replacement Ilir Latifi, he didn’t have to cut much weight at all. “In the past I thought (light heavyweight) was better for me, but I’m more open to middleweight. I have options: Go try out 205, (and) if it doesn’t work out, go to 185.

“I think I would be successful in both divisions, but I give less advantage to my opponent (at middleweight).”

In terms of who Mousasi would like to fight at 185 pounds, he said anyone in the division would be good. His manager, Nima Safapour, recently said that his fighter’s move to middleweight would make the most sense if it came with a fight against one of the best in the division.

“Gegard is very serious about doing it,” Safapour said in an email to GRACIEMAG.com, referencing the drop in weight class. “However, it would only make sense for him if he was offered a top five fighter upon entering the division.”

Vitor Belfort, for example, is right up there with the top of the weight class. A fight with him, Mousasi said, would be a good match-up. Following his win at UFC on FX 8 — as well as in recent months — Belfort has come under fire for undergoing testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) while competing in the UFC. The procedure has been described as cheating in many circles and numerous personalities within the industry, including UFC President Dana White, have criticized those who have gone the route of TRT.

Mousasi, however, isn’t so critical. The fighter said that skills hold more weight in determining the outcome of a fight than that of artificial testosterone, and he would welcome the opportunity to fight Belfort, regardless of the scrutiny that he’s under.

“I’m not afraid of fighting him,” Mousasi said. “Of course (TRT) gives an advantage … But in the end, a fight is a fight (and) if you’re skilled enough, it shouldn’t matter that a guy is on TRT or not.”

Testosterone aside, Mousasi’s drop to middleweight won’t come for another several months because of a knee injury he sustained leading into his most recent bout. The fighter said he won’t return to training at 100 percent for another three to four months, but when he does come back, a middleweight tilt will likely be his next challenge.

Who Mousasi’s first 185-pound challenge will be, specifically? That won’t be answered today. But as he recovers from injury and watches guys like Belfort win middleweight fights in devastating fashion, Mousasi’s confidence isn’t shaken one bit.

“There’s no one in 185 that I could lose to or I would have a hard fight with,” he said. “I’m capable of beating anybody at 185.”

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