When interim UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ drug test was flagged just days prior to his unification fight with champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 200, middleweight Gegard Mousasi was briefly in. Ultimately, middleweight G.O.A.T. Anderson Silva got the fight instead.
Mousasi ended up fighting Thiago Santos at UFC 200, as scheduled, earning a knockout win. The former DREAM light heavyweight champion and Strikeforce light heavyweight champion then called out Vitor Belfort.
He got his wish. The pair are the co-main event at UFC 204 on October 8, 2016 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Mousasi has three fights left on his current contract, and now sees a path to a title shot within that span.
“I think if I beat Vitor, you have Jacare, now and then I think Yoel Romero; those guys are ahead,” said Mousasi to MMAjunkie. “If I beat Vitor, then I’m right up there. But, of course, Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold, they are ex-champions, so with one win they probably will get ahead of me. But we’ll see. I don’t know. First, Vitor Belfort.”
The #8 ranked Mousasi likes his chances vs. the #5 ranked Belfort, now that the Brazilian no longer has a “doctor’s advantage.” That is a reference to the now discontinued, and even disgraced practice of Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
“He’s explosive and dangerous in the first two minutes, but I’ve seen him in the last two fights, especially with ‘Jacare’ and Weidman,” said Mousasi. “He fades out very fast. So, either one or two minutes, if he does his thing and it doesn’t work, he’s mine.”