Despite the fact that he won't even turn 25 until August, Gegard Mousasi has already asserted himself as one of the best fighters in the world. He has won his last 15 fights, with only two of them making it to the judges' scorecards.
His meteoric rise has seen him win titles around the world, culminating with his win over Renato Sobral for the Strikeforce Middleweight championship last August. Mousasi is now considered by many to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
He'll face off against Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal on Saturday night in Nashville. Lawal comes into the fight as the underdog, but with the results of UFC 112 fresh in fans' minds, an upset isn't out of the question.
Even if Mousasi loses the fight, he could very well get the first title shot against his opponent this evening. The light heavyweight division lacks depth. The Strikeforce brass may decide that a rematch would be the best matchup for everyone involved.
While a loss would be damaging to Mousasi, it would hardly limit his options in the sport. There has already been talk of a future fight with Strikeforce newcomer Dan Henderson, as well as a future move to heavyweight with a possible super-fight on the horizon against Fedor Emelianenko.
A fight and win over Henderson would give Mousasi a win over a mainstream star that could make him more well known with newer fans to the sport. Henderson has fought the very best in the world, and a win over him would cement the young Dutch fighter as a top draw and fighter in the sport.
Mousasi has begun to dabble in the heavyweight division around the world, as shown by his win over Gary Goodridge in December. There are several smaller heavyweights in Strikeforce that he could face in preparation for a future fight with Fedor.
He has the body frame to add an additional 20-30 pounds of muscle to allow him compete against bigger fighters while not affecting the speed he already possesses. His striking is extremely dangerous, and he could fit in quite comfortably with the heavier fighters.
A fight between Mousasi and Fedor on CBS would be the biggest fight in the history of the sport not involving the UFC. It could be a ratings bonanza and bring in millions upon millions of dollars to the company.
If Strikeforce can continue to cultivate young talent, while bringing in talent from DREAM and acquiring talent from the UFC, they should be able to build up a solid stable of fighters in all divisions to keep Mousasi challenged and motivated for the next several years.
Many fans had hoped Mousasi would eventually end up competing in the UFC, but that dream will have to wait at least two more years. He signed a new two-year contract with Strikeforce yesterday for a minimum of four fights over the duration of the deal. For better or worse, he is with Strikeforce for the foreseeable future.
Gegard Mousasi is one of the best young fighters in the sport today. Even a loss to King Mo Saturday night won't be able to slow down his rise to the top of the sport. He'll continue his ascension up the pound-for-pound ranking until he is viewed as the best fighter in the world.
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