After a dominating performance over Renato "Babalu" Sobral to claim the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship belt at the "Carano vs. Cyborg" event back on August 15, Gegard Mousasi has officially arrived on U.S. soil.
The win was his thirteenth in a row. His list of victims includes the likes of Melvin Manhoef, Denis Kang, Mark Hunt, Evangelista Santos, Hector Lombard and Ronaldo Souza.
Needless to say, the Mousasi bandwagon is now circling and there are plenty of seats still available.
At the ripe old age of twenty-four, he has already established himself as one of the best mixed martial arts fighters in the world.
The scary part is that he will only get better with continued training and gainful experience.
The sky’s the limit for this kid.
Next up is his first title defense against a yet to be named opponent on the November 7 Strikeforce/M-1 fight card that will be broadcast live on CBS.
"The Dreamcatcher" took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss Strikeforce, Fedor Emelianenko, Brock Lesnar, his biggest weakness and never shying away from Lady Gaga’s music.
Check it out:
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Tell me how your first experience fighting in the United States went? Was it similar or different from what you imagined it would be?
Gegard Mousasi: I had seen the second M-1/Affliction show live so I knew that the crowd is much different from Japan so I knew what to expect.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Were you surprised that you were able to come in and dominate a guy like Renato Sobral so easily?
Gegard Mousasi: No, I was expecting a tough fight because Sobral is experienced and a tough opponent. I don’t feel I dominated because the fight was too short but sometimes fights end quick.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Now that you are spending more time in the United States what are some things you have noticed about the US that make you laugh or that maybe you do not fully understand?
Gegard Mousasi: Well I am familiar with the food, TV shows, movies and language so I feel comfortable when I am in the US. The weather is also great. Something I don’t understand is the fact you have to tip everybody. In Holland we tip also but there is a big difference between the countries.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): What movies or television shows do you watch and what kind of music do you like to listen to?
Gegard Mousasi: I really like Robert De Niro. I watch the comedy shows like Married With Children, Friends, Family Guy and Everybody Loves Raymond. I like all kinds of music artists like Akon. I even listen to Lady Gaga. (laughs)
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Back to MMA, what has been the toughest fight in your entire career up to this point? Who gave you the most trouble and why?
Gegard Mousasi: Probably my third fight against Gilson Ferreira. I was seventeen and I think he was much older, bigger and stronger. I didn’t have a lot of experience. I only could box. It was a brawl fight. I did very well but the rules where different. You couldn’t win unless you knocked him out or knock down or a rope escape (submission).
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): When you step into the cage or ring you seem to be very calm almost like you just woke up. Is this simply your personality or is it something you consciously do to make sure you conserve your energy and emotions?
Gegard Mousasi: I have always been like that even when I was doing amateur boxing and the more fights I have the more relaxed I get in cage or ring. It’s all about experience. It’s something that I try to do because I fight better when I am relaxed.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Will you for sure be fighting on the November 7th Strikeforce/M-1 card in Chicago?
Gegard Mousasi: Yes, I will be on the card with fighters like Fedor, Brett Rogers, Jake Shields, Cristiane Cyborg and Jason Miller so I am exited to be part of this great fight card.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Has your opponent been confirmed? If so, who are you fighting?
Gegard Mousasi: No, nothing yet.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Out of Paulo Filho, Mike Whitehead, or possibly Ricardo Arona, who would you say is most deserving of the opportunity to fight you for the light heavyweight belt?
Gegard Mousasi: I don’t know. It’s not up to me to think who deserves it or not. I just concentrate on winning my fights.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Are you concerned at all that there are not enough quality opponents for you in the Strikeforce light heavyweight division? Do you feel that they need to add some more talent to the division going forward?
Gegard Mousasi: With Strikeforce working with DREAM and M-1 Global there will be enough opponents to fight. I feel that Strikeforce has everything (in place) to get even bigger. They put up great fight cards, have a good TV deal, and they know how to run their business.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Where will you be training at for your next fight and who are some of the coaches and fighters that will be helping you in your preparations?
Gegard Mousasi: I will train like always with my friends. I also train outside my gym to improve my skills. I train now regularly in the new M-1 gym where there are great trainers and sparring partners and a lot of other gyms. Holland is a small country so everything is close by.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): What would you say is an area of your game that you still feel needs the most work?
Gegard Mousasi: Submissions, just because there aren’t a lot of BJJ trainers and fighters to train with that are pure BJJ. I think that’s something I can improve but for that I probably have to train outside Holland so when I get the opportunity I will do that.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): You made some comments recently (on a blog recently posted on the M-1 Global official web site) about how one of your future goals is to become a UFC champion. How will you know when it is time to transition over to the UFC and why do you feel like you are not completely ready at this point?
Gegard Mousasi: I didn’t make that statement. I fight for Strikeforce, M-1, Showtime, and CBS and I am very happy with this.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Speaking of the UFC, what would happen if Fedor Emelianenko ever fought Brock Lesnar? Who would win and why?
Gegard Mousasi: It would be a very interesting fight but I have to go with Fedor and not just because we are friends. I think Fedor has proven himself time after time against very different opponents. Brock Lesnar is a great fighter a real athlete but I feel Fedor has proven himself much more than Brock Lesnar in MMA.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you think that fight will ever happen or was the opportunity lost?
Gegard Mousasi: Anything can happen.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): What (if anything) do you have to say to some of the media and fans out there who think that Fedor stayed with Strikeforce/M-1 because he is avoiding Lesnar or afraid he may lose to Lesnar?
Gegard Mousasi: Fedor has fought the best. He was going to fight the number two heavyweight Josh Barnett. Fedor is not avoiding anyone.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): If you had to guess how many more years will Fedor continue to compete in MMA? Has he ever talked to you about when he anticipates walking away from the sport?
Gegard Mousasi: I don’t know. I can’t say anything. That’s something that only Fedor can say. Every fighter knows for himself when it’s time.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Tell me one thing about Fedor that not a lot of people know about him?
Gegard Mousasi: He is a very good person with a good heart and he still has the same watch he had fifteen years ago. (laughs)
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you still intend to eventually fight in the heavyweight division?
Gegard Mousasi: Yes, very much. It’s something I want to do. It’s a goal of mine, I do it only for myself.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Who is currently the best light heavyweight fighter in the world in your opinion?
Gegard Mousasi: Difficult to say. There are so many good fighters that haven’t fought each other.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Most people would say Lyoto Machida is the best light heavyweight fighter in the world. Nobody has been able to figure out his fighting style or have any real success against him yet. If you were to fight him how would you try to attack him?
Gegard Mousasi: For me, I would fight him stand-up, and because he likes to fight stand-up as well it will allow me to fight more aggressive and less worry about takedowns.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Who do you think will win between Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 104 and why?
Gegard Mousasi: I don’t know. It’s a great match up.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Besides your teammates, who are a few other MMA fighters you admire and like to watch fight when you can?
Gegard Mousasi: I like Fedor. I also like fighters that are great inside and outside the ring or cage like Rashad Evans and Semmy Schilt, but he is a K-1 fighter
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): I heard you say in a recent interview that you often go online and read the articles and the blogs about yourself. Why do you like to read all that stuff?
Gegard Mousasi: Sometimes I read what they write. As long as people talk about you it’s good. There will always people that like you or don’t like you. I like to know what people think of me. I want people to have a good impression of me. It matters to me. Maybe when I get older that will be less important to me, but its new to me that people talk about me.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Would you like to pass along a message to your fans or thank any sponsors before we go?
Gegard Mousasi: Thank you for your support! I hope you all watch the fights on CBS. It’s free baby! Yeah! (laughs). I will do my best to be in good shape in my fight and have an exciting fight. I would like to thank EA Games, Tapout, Clinch Gear, MMA Overload and Full Tilt Poker.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Thank you for the time Gegard. We appreciate it very much.
*** Special thanks to M-1 Global and Ilona Kolesnichenko of Access Media Plus for facilitating the interview. ***
Derek Bolender is an MMA contributor to MMAmania.com, CBSSports.com, BleacherReport.com, and InsideFights.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/DerekMMAwriter and Facebook.com/Derek.Bolender.