The UFC‘s decision to let Gegard Mousasi test free agency and leave to the greener pastures of Bellator looks worse every time he fights. The Bellator middleweight champion extended his winning streak to eight straight fights with a TKO win over Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald in a superfight in the main event of Bellator 206 Saturday night in San Jose. It was arguably the most dominant performance of Mousasi’s career to date, and at 33 years of age “The Dreamcatcher” actually seems to still be getting better every time to fights.
It makes you wonder why the UFC didn’t want to pay Mousasi and keep him in the fold at 185lbs. Remember, the UFC basically was given Mousasi for free in the Strikeforce deal, and after struggling a bit at the beginning of his tenure in the Octagon, going 4-3 in his first seven UFC fights, he came on fire late. He won five-straight fights to close out his run in the UFC including four consecutive knockouts over Chris Weidman, Uriah Hall, Vitor Belfort and Thiago Santos that made him a prime free agent. Even though Mousasi was looking like a destroyer at the end of his UFC run, the company deemed him expendable for whatever reason, and Bellator president Scott Coker snatched him up quickly as a free agent.
So far, the results have spoken for themselves. Mousasi opened his Bellator run with a hard-fought decision win over Alexander Shlemenko in his promotional debut, but he knocked out Rafael Carvalho to win the middleweight title in his next fight and set up the big superfight with MacDonald. And then what he did to MacDonald was ridiculous, as he gave him arguably the worst beating of his career. Even though MacDonald has lost before, no one beat him as badly as Mousasi did, as he beat him to a pulp and broke his nose yet again. The win over MacDonald has made many want to consider Mousasi for their pound-for-pound lists as it’s probably his most complete performance ever.
The win over MacDonald also sets up Mousasi for another big fight in his next bout. He’s already called out Rafael Lovato Jr. — fresh off of a submission win over John Salter — for his next title shot, but he also mentioned another big free agent signing in Lyoto Machida as a possible opponent. Of course, we all know Mousasi’s history with Machida as the two fought in the UFC previously where Mousasi accused Machida of greasing in a decision loss to him, but Mousasi isn’t dumb and he knows the rematch with Machida is a big fight for him and for Bellator. I’d assume Bellator will be looking to book this match next, though Lovato Jr. could potentially sneak in the next title fight if Mousasi wants a quick turnaround. I just feel like Bellator wants that Mousasi vs. Machida rematch.
When Bellator inked Mousasi as a free agent, many fans and media were hailing the signing as a great move for Coker and co., but somehow Mousasi has been even better than advertised. After struggling a bit against Shlemenko, he’s looked utterly dominant in back-to-back stoppage wins over Carvalho and MacDonald. He looks like he could be one of the best free agent signings of all time in MMA. Mousasi is actually getting better every time he fights and look to be getting better with age like a fine wine. He’s already the Bellator middleweight champion but we know Mousasi isn’t afraid of a challenge and he could even potentially move back up to light heavyweight at some point. He’s an amazing fighter and is worth every dollar he gets paid.
Do you think the UFC regrets allowing Gegard Mousasi to walk?