The normally placid Gegard Mousasi was on fire during the UFC 204 post-fight press conference on Saturday night.
The Armenian-born Dutchman earned his fifth victory in six appearances in dominant fashion in Manchester, as he stopped Vitor Belfort via technical knockout 2:43 into the second round of their co-main event encounter. Belfort has lost three of four after a TRT-fueled three-fight winning streak propelled him to middleweight contention in 2013. Mousasi believes that isn’t a coincidence with the UFC’s implementation of a more rigid drug testing program. However, the former Strikeforce champion doesn’t understand the current state of the 185-pound rankings.
“I think I’ve been dominating since USADA came,” he said. “Uriah Hall was a fluke [defeat]. Anybody who knows anything about the sport knows it was a fluke. If I fight Derek Brunson, Robert Whittaker, I’m a favorite. Is it a popularity contest?”
The suddenly outspoken Mousasi has taken notice of the current state of MMA, including the press conference water bottle throwing incident between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz prior to their rematch at UFC 202. That display undoubtedly helped boost interest for their bout.
“I’m underrated throughout my whole career,” Mousasi said. “Maybe throw some bottles on people’s heads and people are gonna notice me. I fight Michael Bisping with his performance tonight…I like Michael Bisping, but you guys know I can beat him. I would jab his face the whole night.”
Bisping retained his middleweight title in the UFC 204 main event with a five-round verdict against Dan Henderson. “The Count” was dropped in both the first and second rounds and exited the fight wearing far more damage than his rival. For now, Mousasi knows that a date with Bisping is not likely. If the promotion can book him soon, he’d like to either avenge his loss to Hall or face Anderson Silva. If that isn’t possible, Mousasi would rather face a higher-ranked foe.
“No. 1 through 4 are booked. If they give me a fight very soon, those [Hall and Silva] are the guys I want to fight. They’re not booked,” he said. “If they keep me waiting, Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold are great fights for me.”
Although Mousasi took a different approach toward media following UFC 204, he still isn’t a fan of the way the top stars in combat sports today have achieved their lofty status. But he also recognizes that’s a product of the fanbase, as well.
“McGregor is good for the sport. But what is it? You had Muhammad Ali, he was a hero,” Mousasi said. “He did big things. Nowadays you have [Floyd] Mayweather and Conor McGregor. [They] have money and everybody loves it. That sells. People are stupid.People don’t know who is a real fighter or not. They just like to see expensive stuff on Instagram.”