The middleweight division might be getting a new injection of talent.

“There’s a big chance that I will go to middleweight,” recent UFC light heavyweight addition Gegard Mousasi recently said. “It all depends on the fights that I’m going to get. If I’m going to get a big name at middleweight, I’ll probably go down.

“It’s all about match-ups. Let’s say they’re going to give me somebody like Vitor Belfort that’s maybe a contender. That’s the kind of fight I want.”

Mousasi is a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, but he believes his best chance at securing gold once more may lay in the middleweight division. Since defeating Ilir Latifi in his UFC debut in April, Mousasi has been contemplating a move to 185 pounds. The key is whether he can land the significant opponent he desires. And that man appears to be Belfort.

Although a decision hasn’t been finalized in terms of Mousasi’s future, a potential showdown with Belfort is intriguing. The Brazilian is likely to get a title shot, should he want it, following the middleweight showdown between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman. But there’s also the possibility that he could end up facing Mousasi later this year.

While the fight could provide an interesting stylistic match-up of strikers, it only makes sense for one of the men involved.

Belfort is coming off two high-profile wins in a row, with fantastic finishes to boot. Not only did the Brazilian become just the second man to TKO Michael Bisping, but he followed that performance by dropping Luke Rockhold with a spinning back kick. Since dropping a decision to Dan Henderson in 2006, Belfort is a stunning 9-2 with those losses coming to some of MMA’s best in Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. That stretch, combined with his recent two performances, has Belfort firmly at third in the middleweight rankings behind Silva and Weidman.

A fight with Mousasi makes little sense for Belfort, but it could be a huge step in the direction of a title shot for Mousasi. He’s fought some of the best in the world and has a resume that’s littered with wins over former champions, including current UFC middleweights Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Hector Lombard and even heavyweight contender Mark Hunt. Mousasi is one of the best “unknown” fighters on the UFC’s roster, but therein lies the problem with envisioning a top-three level opponent for his next outing. He has the skills and credentials to face a top contender, but not the name recognition with UFC fans. Furthermore, it didn’t help his case that he took Latifi to a decision instead of scoring a finish.

However, the fight Mousasi desires could become a reality if Belfort were to lose a title match-up within the time it takes Mousasi to come back. Unless that happens, it’s difficult to see any other way that this fight comes to fruition. But that doesn’t mean Mousasi will be left out in the cold. There are other attractive options out there for him, should he follow through with the move to middleweight.

With Jacare and Yushin Okami seemingly on a crash course, that could leave Bisping as an alternative for Mousasi. Bisping doesn’t hold the top-tier ranking that Mousasi wants in a future opponent, but a win over the Brit would almost certainly guarantee he gets placed in a title-eliminator bout. And, after all, that’s all Mousasi really wants.

Photo: Gegard Mousasi (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.