Scott Coker plans to occupy champion Gegard Mousasi in 2022


It had been a long time since Gegard Mousasi had kept his dance card constantly filled throughout a calendar year. That could change in 2022.

Bellator chairman Scott Coker believes their middleweight champion Mousasi (48-7-2 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) will be busy this year starting with a title defense against Austin Vanderford (11-0 MMA , 5-0 BMMA) at Bellator 275 on February 25 in Dublin.

Mousasi fought four times in 2016 while he was with the UFC. But he only fought twice a year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and once in 2020 and once in 2021.

The last two were crucial, however. In October 2020, he beat Douglas Lima to reclaim the 185-pound title he lost to Rafael Lovato Jr. in 2019. Then he defended the belt with a TKO from John Salter in August 2021.

Perhaps the lack of activity has led Mousasi to comment in recent years on a potentially impending retirement. Maybe it was his mileage. Despite being only 36 years old, Mousasi has appeared in 57 professional fights in the past 19 years.

But Coker thinks people shouldn’t be reading much from past discussions. He said Mousasi is ready for many more fights.

“I think he’s in it. He trains hard, ”Coker recently told MMA Junkie. “We had a great conversation, actually there are a few fights. He’s definitely in it. I think the fighters, when they’re tired, or exhausted, or after a fight, they say a few things. But he picked it up right away and he’s good to go. He wants to fight for the years to come.

If Mousasi overtakes Vanderford – who is undefeated, but has a fraction of Mousasi’s experience – he could be on his way to another title fight in a hurry, at least compared to what has been his norm in recent years. .

“I think one thing we would like to do is keep him busier this year than we have in the past,” said Coker. “I don’t want to use COVID or all of those things that have happened where we’ve kind of been stuck, but this year we won’t have that problem. … We’ll have a whole year and we can keep Gegard busy, and I think he’s a fighter who has to fight a little more often than he has in the past, and that’s going to be something we want to do as well.

“Gegard, if you’re listening, get ready because you’re going to be busy, mate.” “

Twitter reacts to Gegard Mousasi’s victory over Douglas Lima in the Bellator 250

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