We interviewed Gegard Mousasi late last weekend in preparation for his upcoming bout at UFC on Fuel TV. The next day rumors circulated that Gustaffson suffered a cut during training and could possibly be out of the bout. We waited for a while to see if we were unsolicited members of an elaborate troll job. At one point we thought we were, but alas it was all true. Gustaffson was out of UFC on Fuel TV 9 and we had an interview floating around that suddenly lost meaning. Fortunately we ask so many questions that are unrelated to a fighter’s actual fight that we can still squeeze in this Gegard Mousasi interview without it losing much of its content. So stop what you’re doing and spend some time getting deep inside the psyche of Gegard Mousasi without actually opening his brain.
Can you talk about your training and who you are training with for your fight with Alexander Gustaffson? We ask because we are fascinated by your statements a few months ago about not training with the proper focus for fights
I trained at Chakuriki Gym. I trained with all the K-1 level guys for my striking. I had Frederick helping me with my ground technique. I also had a boxing and strength/conditioning coach. So I had very experienced coaches in all areas of the game collaborating with each other and helping me. I also had great sparring partners some of which have a style very similar to Alexander’s. So I feel well prepared for my UFC debut.
What is different in your training now, compared to a year or two ago?
I am more professional with more help. As one grows professionally in this business, the team around them must also grow. So I expanded my training partners, coaches, and management. There is a very nice synergy now with all the different team members that I did not have before
The UFC is an obvious benchmark, but what are some things you wish you could’ve done differently in your still young MMA career?
I don’t look back on my history with a lot of “what ifs.” I feel like I made the most out of the situations and opportunities that were presented to me. No regrets, just looking forward to new and bigger goals.
Can you still make 185? You know Hector Lombard has been calling you back out for a rematch for ages.
Yes, I can still make 185 lbs. But Hector is not a fight that interests me as he is moving down the Top 10 rankings rather than up. Also, my focus is at 205 lbs. If I am performing and winning big fights at 205 lbs, I need to keep my focus on this division.
If you could go back and have one of your former homes, Strikeforce, Dream, (kind of Affliction) or Pride suddenly come back to life, which would it be and why?
I would most like to revisit Dream because of Mr. Kato-San.
This isn’t a question, but we think you beat Keith Jardine. Here’s the question: Are you still bothered by that draw?
I don’t think about it, but it did have a negative impact on my career. Which is not good. I understand that their is a different judging system in the United States, but I felt that was a one sided fight in my favor. But it is time to focus on the future as nothing can be done now about that particular fight.
Tell us about being a former teammate of Fedor. Do you think his career could’ve gone differently had he left M-1 like you did?
I think he is satisfied with what he has done. It is really not my place to make a comment on his career as I don’t have that sort of information to make an intelligent observation. But my impression is that he is pleased with his career, and he does not have to prove anything more as he was one of the best ever.
Was the split with M-1 friendly?
We broke up without any issues.
The Super Hulk tournament. How much does it hurt to have not been able to face Minowaman in the finals? Do you think if you had won the Super Hulk tournament, which is one of the most prestigious, that you may have had a different career projection?
I am satisfied with my experience in that tournament. I am happy to have been able to fight and defeat a fighter of Mark Hunt’s caliber.
Why didn’t you compete in the 2009 ADCC championships?
No one asked me about it, and I was focused on my MMA fights at that time.
You’re an incredible martial artist, but your two weak points could be your takedown defense and wrestling. You looked great before being injured vs Ovince St. Preux, but did the injury set you back? Are you prepared to handle the wrestling of the upper echelon of the UFC talent? IE: Chael at 205. Phil Davis etc.
I don’t believe I am short in any element in the game. I truly feel like a well rounded fighter, and I am always trying to improve my skill set as a martial artist. I implemented the wrong strategy with King Mo
What are your thoughts on Bellator? What did you think of King Mo getting knocked out?
I have not really seen any Bellator shows to be honest. I have heard it is a good promotion. Regarding Mo getting knocked out, it can happen in this sport to anyone.
How much longer do you want to fight? Do you still have plans of moving to heavyweight?
No more plans to move to Heavyweight. I see myself fighting until I am 35 years old.
You have a long and storied career, even at the tender age of 27, is there any story that you wish people could know about you in training or during a fight that you haven’t made public?
No, nothing special. I look forward to making a great fight for the fans come April 6th in Sweden.