Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi is gearing up to defend his title for the first time since winning it last August from Renato "Babalu" Sobral.
He will be presented with a formidable challenge this Saturday night at Strikeforce: Nashville in Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal.
In addition to being undefeated with a 6-0 record, Lawal is also a former three-time U.S. Senior National Wrestling Champion and a former NCAA national collegiate wrestling champion.
Mousasi told Mark Wayne of FightLine.com in an interview earlier this week that he's ready for Lawal's wrestling pedigree and expects to be taken down in the fight.
"His wrestling is good, but that will be good only in the first round," said Mousasi. "Maybe he'll take me down once or twice, but I'm expecting to fight on my back and I've fought a lot of fights on my back so the wrestling is not going to affect as much as people think.
"I have a game plan and I know I'm going to be on my back maybe once or twice but I'm very confident that he will not be able to do any damage there. So, I just need to ride it out or wait for a stand up. I'm confident in what I can do."
While Mousasi last fought at heavyweight when he defeated Gary Goodridge at Dynamite!! 2009 this past New Year's Eve, he noted that he's too small for that weight class and plans on staying at light heavyweight for the time being.
"I'm just too small for heavyweight," he stated. "If I go up to heavyweight it has to make sense. I have to win my fights first at light-heavyweight; to be impressive at light-heavyweight. I'm thinking about heavyweight in two years if everything goes well; no injuries, win all my fights.
"So, right at this moment no. I need the time to put on the weight and feel comfortable, so it's just something in the future that I'm thinking about. It's one thing that I want to do, just for myself. I'm not doing it to prove anything to someone. It's just for myself that I want to accomplish that goal and be a champion at heavyweight one day. It's something personal."
While there are plenty of challenges in Strikeforce at light heavyweight, Mousasi stated that if promotions and contracts didn't exist, the opponent that he would most like to face is someone not currently in the organization.
"At light-heavyweight I would like to fight [Lyoto] Machida if it doesn't have anything to do with Strikeforce or UFC," he said. "He is the champion there so I would like to fight him. But it doesn't make sense to challenge people that you cannot fight."
Mousasi faces Lawal at Strikeforce: Nashville on CBS this Saturday night for the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.