For more than a year, Gegard Mousasi couldn’t get away from clips of his loss to Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night 75.
The defeat, in which Hall staggered Mousasi with a spinning back kick to the face and dropped him with a flying knee before finishing the bout with standing-to-ground punches, stood out as one of 2015’s best knockouts and biggest upsets. It’s no surprise the highlights had an extended shelf life among fight fans.
Mousasi exacted revenge in the UFC Fight Night 99 headliner in Belfast on Saturday, putting Hall away with a barrage of ground-and-pound 4:31 into the opening stanza of their middleweight encounter. The former Strikeforce champion has won four straight fights since the shocking defeat to Hall and is ready to move on to the next phase of his UFC career.
“This is behind me. I’m tired of that stupid highlight, seeing that stupid kick in my face,” Mousasi said at the post-fight press conference. “I’m tired of it, so I can put it behind me. I look forward to going for the title soon.”
Still just 31 years old, Mousasi’s professional career has spanned nearly 50 fights since it began in 2003. The Armenian-born Dutchman owns wins over Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Thales Leites and Mark Munoz thus far in the Octagon, and he has his sights set on even bigger game now. Mousasi knows that an immediate title shot isn’t likely, but he does feel like he is close to the top of the division.
“Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz are the super fights. Those are great fights for me,” he said. “To get to the title shot, maybe Luke Rockhold. It depends on the UFC. If they give me a top 10, top 15 [opponent], I take the fight. As long as they give me the next title shot [afterward], I’m ready to take anyone.”
The next middleweight title bout is likely to come in early next year. Recently, reigning 185-pound king Michael Bisping confirmed that he is willing to fight No. 1 contender Yoel Romero in the spring of 2017. Rockhold, Silva and Diaz currently do not have fights booked.