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Gegard Mousasi calls Conor McGregor "cokehead", predicts UFC 276 main event, ranks Khabib Nurmagomedov among GOATs ahead of Johnny Eblen title defense

(Left to right) Gegard Mousasi, Israel Adesanya, Jared Cannonier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor and Johnny Eblen [Images via @mousasi, @johnnyeblen, and @ufc on Instagram]
(Left to right) Gegard Mousasi, Israel Adesanya, Jared Cannonier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor and Johnny Eblen [Images via @mousasi, @johnnyeblen, and @ufc on Instagram]
Madhav Tewari

Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi recently spoke to James Lynch for an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda MMA ahead of his title defense against Johnny Eblen. Over the course of the conversation, Mousasi shared his thoughts on the greatest MMA fighter of all time and his predictions for UFC 276.

'The Dreamcatcher' is an Iranian-born Dutch fighter who is the current middleweight champion at Bellator. With an MMA fight record of 58 bouts and 49 wins, Mousasi is considered one of the most experienced middleweight fighters in recent times. He is set to face Johnny Eblen in a title defense at Bellator 282 on June 24. The event will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.

Check out the transcription and view the timestamps for the interview below.


Watch Gerard Mousasi's interview with Sportskeeda MMA below:

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Introduction: So great catching up with the Bellator middleweight champion again. Gegard Mousasi is going to be back in action against Johnny Eblen [at] Bellator 282 [on] June 24th.

Q: Did you know much about Johnny Eblen when they offered him as an opponent? Did you know about him?

A: No.

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙆𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙈𝙞𝙙𝙙𝙡𝙚𝙬𝙚𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 👑 185lb champion @Mousasi_MMA defends against No.1 contender @JohnnyEblen on Friday, June 2️⃣4️⃣th LIVE from The @MoheganSun.#Bellator282 🎟👉 bit.ly/Bellator-282-T… https://t.co/wvX87IwPT4

Q: Well now that you have had a chance to look him up, what do you know about him?

How do you feel you match up against him in this fight?

A: Yeah, pretty good, you know, the last two opponents were pretty similar. I think both were wrestlers, who want to take you down [and] hold you.

I know exactly what he [Johnny Eblen] wants to do, and he’ll probably want to stand up and fight for one or two rounds.

And then go back to wrestling.

Q: Yeah, and I know there’s been talk about you maybe going up to 205 [lbs].

I mean, is that still a possibility at this point, or do you just want to see what’s left at 185 [lbs]?

A: Well, [it] depends. You have Yoel Romero at the middleweight [and] maybe you have Cory Anderson [at light heavyweight].

Or you know, what’s the Russian's name I forget everytime [JL: Nemkov]. Nemkov, yes.

I don’t make the match, but I’m not going to wait on them, because I’m going to fight [at the] end of the year.

And they already have [an] opponent lined up, so [I’m] probably just going to move on and see after that who they’re going to give me, you know.

Q: Okay, fair enough, I like the honesty there. How do you see this fight playing out on June 24th?

I know you’re going to get your hand raised, otherwise why sign the contract? But how do you envision it going down?

A: I see myself winning, and impressively. And that guy, he doesn’t know what he’s facing.

And you’re going to see I’m confident more than ever. And maybe it [the fight] can go to a decision, maybe?

[Or] I [will] finish him pretty early, I don’t know. But whatever happens, happens, even if I lose, I’m coming to fight.

I’m coming to finish him. I think with that mentality anything can go wrong, but it’s better than coming and just trying to win.

Because you know, I’m going to come there with a mentality to finish him and you know, less can go wrong with that mentality.

So, I’m coming there to do harm, you know.

Q: A week after you, there’s the UFC middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier.

I was just curious, how you think that fight plays out? It’s interesting with Jared because he’s got a lot of power obviously.

How do you see that one going down?

A: Well, you know, Israel is more technical of course. I think he is too technical, but anyone [everyone] has their chance, you know.

But of course you have to go with Israel in that fight, but I’m impressed with Jared because he’s a tough guy.

Those guys are always dangerous, and he [Jared] fights dangerous, but of course Israel is [the] favorite.

Q: Just a couple of other fights [that] I wanted to ask you about.

What about the featherweight title fight between Alex Volkanovski and Max Holloway, their third fight?

Volkanovki’s won two fights, who do you see winning the third one?

A: I haven’t watched those fights to be honest.

Q: Oh, Volkanovski won, yeah no worries. Okay, what about Jack Hermansson and Darren Till in middleweight?

Who do you see edging out that one?

A: Darren Till, because we’re in blockchain together, so I’m rooting for him.

Kicking off today's BLOCK Party we have none other than @BellatorMMA's Middleweight Champ @mousasi_mma 👑Live now on BLOCK Party: youtube.com/watch?v=cw8ytl… https://t.co/Ar6UuVC03K

Q: What did you think of Khabib Nurmagomedov giving you some props after your last win?

I think he said you’re one of the most underrated fighters in MMA, what did you think of that?

A: Yeah, i appreciate comments like that, because people follow him, you know, and I’m thankful for the recognition.

@mousasi_mma is the most underrated fighter in MMA today.Congratulations Gegard #Bellator275

Q: Where do you rank him on the greatest of all time list? You know, you think of Georges Saint-Pierre and Jon Jones, but Khabib is the only one who’s undefeated.

Where would you put him on the greatest of all time list, in your opinion?

A: Well, top three?

Q: In your interview with my buddy Robin Black, I know that you talked about the UFC uniform deal.

Do you ever think of like, if you had stayed with the UFC, how much less money would you be making?

Do you ever think, like, what a great decision it was coming over to Bellator?

A: [In the] UFC you make money when you’re champion, when you’re not champion you go back to your old contract.

There’s only one middleweight champion, so I feel like after all these years I should get paid a certain amount.

I don’t care if I have the belt or not. But the structure over there favors [you] if you’re champion.

And for me, Bellator was much better.

Q: Would you ever want to do standup comedy? You know you’ve become quite the funny guy in your interviews.

In fact, one of my favorite moments ever was when you were on that panel on UFC on Fox.

And Michael Bisping was talking about your loss to Uriah Hall, and you said, “Listen sometimes flukes happen, you beat Luke Rockhold.”

You just completely surprised us, it was completely hilarious, do you remember that?

A: Yeah, I do respect Bisping a lot, he’s a nice guy.

Catch Gerard Mousasi's interview with Michael Bisping and Kenny Florian below:

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Q: Well you haven’t gotten into trouble either, you’ve got to get into trouble like Conor McGregor right?

Conor Mcgregor gets into trouble, he’s more popular.

A: Well that guy’s a cokehead, of course he’s going to get into trouble.

Timestamps:

Q1: I know you just finished up training, how did everything go? (0:13)

Q2: I can tell, you’re holding back the excitement there, it’s great. You fought four months ago.

And here we are, talking about another fight, you must’ve been getting fights so close together.

Because i know that was a thing, you wanted to keep active. (0:29)

Q3: Did you know much about Johnny Eblen, when they offered him as an opponent? Did you know about him? (0.57)

Q4: Okay, fair enough. So it was one of those [where] you had to go [and] look him up?

Or did the coaches assess him?

Like when you have an opponent like this that you’re not familiar with, who does the scouting, you or your coaches? (1:05)

Q5: Well now that you have had a chance to look him up, what do you know about him?

How do you feel you match up against him in this fight? (1:25)

Q6: Yeah you brought up a good point, him and Austin Vanderford are very similar, I think they even train in the same team.

Is the preparation very similar [to] what you had for Austin Vanderford as well?(1:53)

Q7: Okay there we go, you look like you got plenty of notice for this fight, I imagine you got a full training camp? (2:30)

Q8: And has training been primarily the same, just business as usual, you do any cross training with this camp?

Or has it been the same group of guys? (2:41)

Q9: Yeah, if you’re winning why change things up? Who have been some of the main guys you’ve been working with?

Give the names of some of the guys you get to work with. (3:08)

Q10: You mentioned Costello van Steenis, I know he was dealing with some injuries.

Is he going to be fighting here soon, because I know we haven’t seen him in a while. (3:56)

Q11: And he must be such a great training partner to have, he’s younger and he’s in your weight class.

How much of an asset is it having him in the gym with you? (4:21)

Q12: How much sparring do you do in camp?

I know fighters as they’re getting later in their careers, someone like Robbie Lalwer, he doesn’t do that much sparring anymore.

Do you still spar a lot, or do you kind of reduce it a bit, because you know how to fight right?

It’s more of keeping things sharp. (4:59)

Q13: When you say you have memory problems, is that because of MMA or just because you’re getting older?

Because I forget things too, I don’t fight. (5:41)

Q14: No no, understandable for sure. How about the weight cut? I know we talked about this the last time.

How is everything going ahead of the fight, especially with you fighting in the US again?

I’m sure you had to cut a little bit more back home. (6:03)

Q15: Yeah, and I know there’s been talk about you maybe going up to 205 [lbs].

I mean, is that still a possibility at this point, or do you just want to see what’s left at 185 [lbs]? (6:39)

Q16: Well, how many more fights I mean, not looking past June 24th, but how many more fights do you see yourself having at 185 [lbs]?

Because like you said “As you’re geting older, it s**ks cutting that much weight.”

I imagine you want to maybe finish your career at 205 [lbs]? (7:25)

Q17: Okay, fair enough, I like the honesty there. How do you see this fight playing out on June 24th?

I know you’re going to get your hand raised, otherwise why sign the contract? But how do you envision it going down? (7:50)

Q18: A week after you, there’s the UFC middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier.

I was just curious how you think that fight plays out? It’s interesting with Jared because he’s got a lot of power.

How do you see that one going down? (9:06)

Q19: What about Luke Rockhold, what do you think about him coming back and fighting Paulo Costa? (9:45)

Q20: Would you favour Costa in that fight just because he’s fought more often?

Like Rockhold hasn’t fought I think since the Jan Blachowicz fight, which was I want to say 2019 July?

It’s been a while. (10:07)

Q21: Just a couple of other fights [that] I wanted to ask you about.

What about the featherweight title fight between Alex Volkanovski and Max Holloway, their third fight.

Volkanovki’s won two fights, who do you see winning the third one? (10:40)

Q22: Oh, Volkanovski won, yeah no worries. Okay, what about Jack Hermansson and Darren Till at middleweight?

Who do you see edging out that one? (10:55)

Q23: What about Amanda Nunes and Juliana Pena, their rematch.

Of course, Pena is upsetting Amanda Nunes, do you think Amanda Nunes can win the rematch? (11:12)

Q24: I like the honesty there, last one I want to ask, Robert Whittaker is fighting Marvin Vettori in Paris.

Who do you see winning that middleweight fight? (11:36)

Q25: We talked about earlier, you maybe going upto 205 [lbs], I imagine you think Yoel Romero’s going to beat Melvin Manhoef.

Or how do you see that fight going, because obviously you’re really familiar with Melvin. (12:00)

Q26: Do you think part of the thing as well is that there’s a lot more opponents at 205 [lbs] than there is at 185 [lbs]?

Like, if you beat Johnny Eblen, I don’t even know who would be next for you, right?

Like, do you have any idea who could be the next middleweight contender? (12:46)

Q27: No no, you bring up a great point, and again I know you perform a lot better at 185 [lbs] like you said. (13:36)

Q28: I was going to say though, if Romero was to fight you, it would have to be at 185 [lbs], you wouldn’t fight him at 205 [lbs]? (13:54)

Q29: And then, so you don’t go up to 205 [lbs] if it was for the title.

Which i understand, because you’re the middleweight champion, and you have a lot of leverage here. (14:10)

Q30: What did you think of Khabib Nurmagomedov giving you some props after your last win?

I think he said you’re one of the most underrated fighters in MMA, what did you think of that? (14:27)

Q31: Were you expecting that from him? I don’t think there’s any connection to either of you.

So for him to say that out of the blue, I thought it was pretty cool. (14:47)

Q32: Where do you rank him on the greatest of all time list? You know, you think of Georges Saint-Pierre and Jon Jones, but Khabib is the only one who’s undefeated.

Where would you put him on the greatest of all time list, in your opinion? (15:10)

Q33: In your interview with my buddy Robin Black, I know that you talked about the UFC uniform deal.

Do you ever think of like, if you had stayed with the UFC, how much less money would you be making?

Do you ever think, like, what a great decision it was coming over to Bellator? (15:44)

Q34: Has the UFC ever reached out to you since you’ve been with Bellator to try and bring you back?

Have there been any talks with them at all? (16:33)

Q35: With Bellator yes, I think you’ve told me you want to retire with Bellator right? That’s the plan? (16:51)

Q36: Okay, well why don’t you like fighting, I’m curious? I mean you’ve had more fights than most people.

I would imagine that’s probably the reason? (17:01)

Q37: Where are you going on holiday, do you have anything booked? (17:30)

Q38: And is it just a vacation, or are you going to be training there too? (17:38)

Q39: Have you thought about what you’d want to do after your fighting career is over? (17:50)

Q40: Coaching maybe, or business? (18:03)

Q41: Would you ever want to do standup comedy? You know you’ve become quite the funny guy in your interviews.

In fact, one of my favorite moments ever was when you were on that panel on UFC on Fox.

And Michael Bisping was talking about your loss to Uriah Hall, and you said, “Listen sometimes flukes happen, you beat Luke Rockhold.”

You just completely surprised us, it was completely hilarious, do you remember that? (18:18)

Q42: But that was a good zinger, you know Bisping’s good at talking trash, but you really had him there.

I thought that was great. (18:46)

Q43: Do people still talk about that? Even all these years later, I see that clip come up, and I laugh all the time. (18:57)

Q44: No, you know what? I was going to say it’s interesting, if you go back and watch your old interviews.

Like when you fought in Dream, it didn’t seem like you were very comfortable in the interviews.

And now it’s the opposite, I think like we really get to see who you are, and you joke around a lot.

When did that change for you? (19:08)

Q45: What video games [are] you playing right now? (19:49)

Q46: No, how come? (20:03)

Q47: Oh, come on, everyone plays video games, even i play video games. (20:07)

Q48: Yes, i hear you. Well I think we’re around the same age, so I understand you.

But [have] you ever thought about doing any streaming? Like playing video games to the rest of the world.

And talking smack while you’re doing it, because i think you’d look pretty good, you’d do a good job with it. (20:21)

Q49: I don’t know man, look Khabib’s calling you one of the most underrated fighters ever.

You’re one of the best middleweights of all time, you know, you’ve got to give yourself some more credit, don’t you think? (20:40)

Q50: Well you haven’t gotten into trouble either, you’ve got to get into trouble like Conor McGregor right?

Conor Mcgregor gets into trouble, he’s more popular. (21:06)

Q51: Before we go, I’ve got to ask, you’ve fought everywhere in the world.

Is there one place you haven’t fought that you’d like to fight at some point, as your career is winding down? (21:19)

Q52: Yeah, no of course, I guess that would be like a great ending to your career.

If you can fight in Holland before everything’s done, right? So, let’s see if Scott Coker works on a look there.

They’re doing events in Hawaii, the UFC still hasn’t been there, so I think Scott can work something out here in Holland.

Maybe we’ll see. (22:08)

Q53: I agree, Gegard, thanks for doing this man, I know you can get back to some good eating.

And everything else, if there’s anyone you’d like to thank, any sponsors, anything you want to plug in?

The floor is yours man. (22:33)


Edited by Aziel Karthak

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