UFC Fight Night 41: 3 Fights for Gegard Mousasi to Take Next

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2014

Gegard Mousasi, left, receives applause after  he defats Mark Munoz from the United States  in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night mixed martial arts event in Berlin, Saturday, May 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Markus Schreiber/Associated Press

Gegard Mousasi is back, ladies and gentlemen, and he is a top-10 middleweight. No doubt about it. He made quick work of respected middleweight Mark Munoz on Saturday, beating him at his own game as he took the two-time NCAA Division I All-American down, took his back and choked him out in the first round. 

The question now, of course, is "What's next?"

In the swirling middleweight division, which is high on talent and low on name value, there are plenty of options for the former Strikeforce and Dream light heavyweight champion. Who tops the list, though? 


CB Dollaway

Markus Schreiber/Associated Press

Well, the timing is perfect for this one. Minutes before Mousasi had his hand raised, CB Dollaway made a strong claim for a top-10 spot by beating Francis Carmont. While he probably won't leap that high up, he is going to finally get a number next to his name on UFC broadcasts.

Dollaway is 4-1 in his last five and could have easily been 5-0. While he lacks the name value, he has the resume to challenge Mousasi.

Unfortunately, that lack of name value is a big deal. As Matt Brown can tell you, it takes a long time to climb to the top when you've spent a long time in the middle, and for a guy like Mousasi who could be in line to fight a much bigger name, Dollaway is a tough sell.

Still, if they're both healthy and Mousasi just wants to get back into the cage as soon as possible, this might be a fight worth making.


Dan Henderson

June 15, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; light heavyweight  Dan Henderson during the fight against Rashad Evans (not pictured) during UFC 161 at the MTS Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Hendo is coming off an ugly loss to Daniel Cormier, but he expressed interest in coming back down to the middleweight division after he was woefully outmuscled by the accomplished heavyweight. While Henderson's career has hit the skids of late, he is still a legend in the sport and, as such, can still be matched against pretty much anybody outside the immediate title picture coming off a loss like the one he just suffered.

If he does indeed take that plunge back down to 185 pounds, which seems like it would be very easy to pull off considering he deflated to 198 pounds since dropping TRT, Mousasi would be a great first opponent for him.

Mousasi is currently a safe distance away from title contention, courtesy of his loss to Lyoto Machida (the current top contender), but is well-respected from his career in Japan and his time as Strikeforce's light heavyweight champion. It's a fight that would likely be appealing for both parties.


Luke Rockhold

Jan 15, 2014; Duluth, GA, USA; Luke Rockhold is interviewed after his win against Costas Philippou (not pictured) at Gwinnett Center. Rockhold wins. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

A bout between two former Strikeforce champs, Gegard Mousasi vs. Luke Rockhold is an interesting thought. Both of them have an exciting style, and both have legitimate all-over-the-cage skills. Rockhold is still desperately seeking to separate himself from his knockout loss to Vitor Belfort, and a fight with Mousasi would be a good way to do it.

Rockhold has put two big first-round stoppage wins over Costas Philippou and Tim Boetsch between him and Belfort's foot, meaning he is headed in a good direction. Mousasi seems to have noticed, too, and picked him out as a potential opponent at the post-fight presser.

This one makes a lot of sense and would be pretty darn fun to watch. Here's hoping it happens.