Gegard Mousasi was in an impossible position this week after his original opponent, Alexander Gustafsson, was forced out of their bout at UFC on Fuel 9.
Instead of facing a top-three fighter and potential title contender, he drew relative unknown Ilir Latifi for the main event. And beyond the stylistic differences between the opponents, he was already going into the fight at less than full health as well.
"Mousasi had knee problems all through his camp. He checked with his doctor and his doctor said, 'You can make it through this fight and you're going to have to have surgery after the fight,'" White stated.
"Kid wants to fight because he's going to come in here and fight the No. 3-ranked light heavyweight in the world. He doesn't want to give up this opportunity, he wants to fight him.
"Shows up here to fight him, (Gustafsson) gets stopped on a cut...we won't even get into that. We'll leave that alone because we all know what's up with that. He's training for this tall striker. He ends up fighting a short, strong, southpaw wrestler and still accepts the fight and takes it."
Despite facing a 5'8" Greco-Roman wrestler that most people hadn't heard about before this week, Mousasi accepted the challenge and went on to win a unanimous decision in a fairly one-sided bout.
Mousasi consistently kept Latifi at the end of his punches and bloodied his face with jabs over the course of all three rounds. The Dutch fighter was the clear winner, but he admitted after the fight that he wasn't about to do something stupid and become the subject of one of the greatest upsets in UFC history.
"I didn't want to take any risks," Mousasi admitted after the fight. "He's got nothing to lose, so I fought smart."
As far as his knee injury goes, Mousasi didn't want to go into too much detail about what happened or how long it may delay his return to action.
It was bad enough, however, for him to believe that most fighters in the same situation would have likely backed out of the fight and not taken the same chance that he just did on Saturday.
"I don't want to talk a lot about my injury. I can tell with this injury I'm pretty sure 95 percent wouldn't fight, from other fighters," said Mousasi. "I stepped up, I didn't cancel the show."
The only other detail that Mousasi gave about the injury was to say "it's nothing small," and obviously it was severe enough that it may cause him to undergo surgery to repair whatever damage was done.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
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