Despite being only 28 years old, Gegard Mousasi has had a career most MMA fighters would envy. His first pro-MMA bout came when he was just 18 years old and has amassed 40 fights and 34 victories in a little over 10 year.
His career took him around the world and he’s fought in numerous organizations such as Strikeforce, BodogFight, Dream and of course now the UFC. He’s had high expectations wherever he’s gone and for the first 5 years of his career, he lived up to them but injuries and unexpected losses have derailed his moment in the past five years.
When he entered the UFC, again big things were expected of Mousasi. He was to be thrown right to the fire with a debut bout against light heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustafsson but an eye injury to Gustafsson meant Mousasi had to fight Ilar Latifi. He beat Latifi with relative ease but injuries forced him out for 10 months.
He returned to fight middleweight Lyoto Machida. He earned fight of the night honors in a losing effort but despite the post fight award the disappointment from Mousasi’s supporters was palpable. He had trouble getting any offense off against the elusive Machida. Like his loss to Muhammed Lawal, Mousasi was on the big stage but failed to live up to expectations.
Mousasi needs a win over Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 41 to tread water in the UFC’s middleweight division. Munoz has had a couple of chances to earn a title fight but after two KO losses to Weidman and Machida, he’s entering gatekeeper territory.
Mousasi is still young at 28 years old but one has to wonder about the toll all those injuries have taken and of course, the grind of 40 professional fights wears a fighter down regardless of age. Mousasi could be in a similar situation to Shogun Rua, he has the wear and tear of an old man despite being in a younger man’s body.
But there is hope, Rua was able to put it together for a decent streak and won the UFC light-heavyweight title. Mousasi has the title to compete with the top fighters in the middleweight division but the question remains, will his body carry him and will his mind put him over the wall.