Mousasi Wants Manhoef in Dream GP

By Tim Leidecker May 2, 2008
Despite a 20-2-1 record, Gegard Mousasi (Pictures) was a heavy underdog going into Tuesday's fight with Denis Kang (Pictures) in the Dream middleweight grand prix. After his first-round submission win over the Canadian veteran, one can definitely say the role was not justified.

Here the well-rounded 22-year-old from Armenia reviews the fight and gives his outlook on the next round of the grand prix:

Sherdog.com: How do you feel after this big win?
Gegard Mousasi (Pictures): I feel great! It has given me a lot of confidence to beat a top-ranked opponent like Denis Kang (Pictures).

Sherdog: Did you have the impression that Kang was reluctant to stand up with you?
Mousasi: No, but he took me out of my game plan, because he came in with punches while I was worried that he would be looking for the takedown right away. So then I thought I can be more aggressive with my punches and kicks and that was when he was able to take me down.

Sherdog.com: Once on the ground, you remained very calm, even with him in half guard. Did you train this position a lot, knowing that you might be in such a situation in the fight?
Mousasi: This was nothing special because I felt that I was physically stronger than him and he wasn't doing any damage, so I stayed calm and waited for an opportunity to reverse him or stand back up.

Sherdog.com: Were you in danger of being submitted at any point when he had the kimura?
Mousasi: No, not at all. Otherwise I would have been busier when he had my arm.

Sherdog.com: Many fans who saw the fight claim that Kang jumped right into the triangle choke and made it far too easy for you. What do you reply to those critics?
Mousasi: They should watch the fight again. When he stood up out of my guard, I kicked him a couple times and that made him want to come down again. I then grabbed one of his feet and pulled on it, which took a little bit of his balance away. Then he wanted to strike me with those hammer fists, but if you watch closely, you will see that I dodged those punches before securing the triangle choke. I also kept his hand in control, so he wouldn't be able to pull it out.

Sherdog.com: Sakuraba, Tamura, Yoon, Galesic, Kin and Jacaré all progressed to the next round. Who has impressed you the most in their fight?
Mousasi: I haven't been able to see all of the other fights yet, but Galesic is a nice guy and showed a great armbar even though that is not his specialty. Jacaré was also impressive, but I have to see more of his fights before I can give you a final verdict on him. Props to Ian Murphy (Pictures) for taking the fight on a two-week notice and making his MMA debut against a guy like Jacaré though.

Sherdog.com: What is your opinion about Melvin Manhoef (Pictures) most likely getting the opportunity to move up to the quarterfinals with a win on May 11?
Mousasi: If he does, I would love to fight him next. His fighting style suits me well, and it would be a very exciting fight.

Sherdog.com: Anything else you'd like to get off your chest?
Mousasi: I hear that a lot of people on the Internet are now talking bad about Denis Kang. If they are brave enough to badmouth a professional fighter, why don't these keyboard warriors come out behind their computer and get in the ring themselves to prove how tough they are? I also want to thank Jesus, my friends and family for their help and continuous support.
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