Light heavyweight. Middleweight. Catchweights. A Super Hulk tournament. Even heavyweight. Gegard Mousasi has fought in a number of weight classes and against opponents of varied shapes and sizes—including even Mark Hunt—in his MMA career. But no matter the division in which he has plied his trade, he has sparked a terrifying thought of what he could do there with a little serious training.

Now considering a move from light heavyweight to middleweight, Mousasi could be a devastating force in the 185-pound division and a legitimate threat to Anderson Silva’s throne.

The early period of Mousasi’s career was spent at middleweight. That era of his career ended with a four-fight run in 2008 in the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix. In that tournament, Mousasi finished three of his opponents within the first few minutes and the only fighter to get past the first round, only to eventually lose a decision, was Dong-Sik Yoon. Mousasi finished Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza with an upkick and was able to submit both Melvin Manhoef and Denis Kang with a triangle choke. The wins gave Mousasi the tournament championship and the inaugural Dream middleweight crown.

That wasn’t his first foray into the middleweight division. At the age of 20, Mousasi’s middleweight career ended up landing him in the Pride 2006 Grand Prix. Although he didn’t win the tournament, losing to Akihiro Gono in the quarterfinals, Mousasi did rack up a win over future Bellator champion Hector Lombard in an alternate bout.

But after the Dream tournament, Mousasi put on weight. He competed at 212 pounds versus Mark Hunt in Dream’s Super Hulk Grand Prix and submitted the big man in just 79 seconds. During that stretch in 2009, Mousasi said in interviews that it would be impossible for him to cut back down to middleweight. He stated that his subsequent fights would take place at light heavyweight and possibly even heavyweight. For the last four years, he’s remained true to those words by competing primarily at light heavyweight, with one foray to heavyweight in which destroyed UFC veteran Gary Goodridge via TKO.

Mousasi had a brilliant career at middleweight before moving up in weight, but his tenure as a light heavyweight for the past four years could actually be an advantage for his opponents. Can Mousasi be healthy enough after the weight cut down to 185 pounds? Would he be absolutely drained after the cut? Even he, at one time, stated that it was impossible. So, is it?

Given that he’s suggested that he’ll return to the division, his opinion on the impossibility of cutting back down has obviously changed. Mousasi knows what the cut entails and he has gone through it before. I’m inclined to believe he would be okay after cutting the weight.

Mousasi has only recently taken his training seriously, and that is a scary thought considering how great he has been thus far in his career.

His most recent fight against Ilir Latifi is nothing to write home about, but he was injured at the time. He also happened to be stepping into the Octagon for the first time in his career, which can be overwhelming for any fighter. But in his 39-fight career, Mousasi has displayed amazing striking skill that could be considered among the best at 205 pounds. He has boxed as an amateur, racking up nine knockout wins, and has also competed in kickboxing. While his striking isn’t in the same class as Anderson Silva, it certainly is something that could make Silva weary.

In MMA combat, those striking skills have racked up 18 knockouts for Mousasi, and though his kickboxing has earned him that many wins, Mousasi has also submitted 11 of his opponents. Fighting someone like Silva could play out with a submission finish. Mousasi could probably hold his own on the feet, but the ground is definitely where he can beat Silva. Silva is great on the ground as well, but it would be interesting to see him against someone who would try to finish the fight on the ground and will work to submit him.

Mousasi wouldn’t earn a title shot right away if he dropped down. His name just isn’t big enough yet with the UFC crowd to sell as an instant title contender. Besides, nobody should get instant title shots after weight drops. They should earn them.

Whoever draws Mousasi in his UFC middleweight debut would be in for a world of trouble. Twenty-nine finishes out of 34 wins is a scary thought for anybody at middleweight, and already holding wins over Lombard and Jacare is a good start for Mousasi. Those wins prove that Mousasi could be a top-10 fighter and even a title contender at the weight.

In the end, all of this is speculative. Dropping down from a higher weight class doesn’t always translate to success. Mousasi having been there before though and holding wins over some pretty good opponents does help to create the belief that this time a drop down could end up being Mousasi’s best chance at gold.

Photo: Gegard Mousasi (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.