Former UFC middleweight title challenger Thales Leites has a tough contest in front of him in the form of ex-Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi later today (Sat., Feb. 27, 2016) in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 84 in London, England.
Leites heads into his important meeting with "The Dreamcatcher" off of a split-decision loss to one-half of the main event, Michael Bisping, last July. The Brazilian's close encounter with "The Count" ended his eight-fight win streak.
Should Leites prove to be victorious over the well-rounded Dutchman, he would desire rematches with both Bisping and mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Anderson Silva.
From his conversation with Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting:
"I want (rematches) with both of them. I want to fight the best in my division. If I have the opportunity to fight both of them in the future, I would accept it right away. That's an excellent option. I think about it, but I have to live step by step. I have a big challenge Saturday, and they both do too. Winning the fight, we'll see what's next."
Remember when that incredible display then 185-pound titleholder Silva and Leites put forth inside the Octagon way back in April 2009? Bisping sure doesn't.
That was then and this is now. The Nova Uniao product Leites is far removed from his Montreal stinker with "The Spider."
In fact, Mousasi feels he's more of a difficult problem to solve than the Brit. Leites, 34, is a much more complete fighter than the jiu-jitsu specialist he was several years ago.
And it's not as if his record in the Octagon was that porous. As it stands, Leites has tallied 10 wins, to go with four losses in UFC competition.
Mousasi, on the other hand, has achieved mixed results since he made his UFC debut in April 2013. The former K-1 kickboxer has been dispatched by the likes of Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Lyoto Machida.
It will be imperative for Leites and Mousasi to fight with a sense of urgency if they don't want to fall out of the Top 10 in the official middleweight rankings.