Reigning Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi put together the performance of a lifetime against welterweight champion Rory MacDonald in their superfight at Bellator 206 on Saturday.
During the contest, Mousasi cut through MacDonald’s defenses with ease en route to a bloody TKO win. It was about as flawless a peroformance a champion can have over another champion.
A former UFC and Pride veteran, as well as a former Cage Warriors, DREAM and Strikeforce champion, Mousasi’s victory was nothing new to fight fans who follow his career.
But with over 50 professional fights under his belt, “The Dreamcatcher” recognizes the clock is winding down.
Heading into the champion vs. champion fight, Mousasi let MMA Fighting in on his plans of hanging up his four-ounce gloves for good after fighting out the final three fights on his Bellator contract. At just 33, and looking better than ever, this revelation certainly caught fans and pundits off guard.
Appearing on The MMA Hour on Monday, Mousasi reiterated his retirement plans and pointed to the aftermath of his bruising victory over former champion Alexander Shlemenko in 2017 as the single moment these thoughts crept into his brain.
“People didn’t see what happened after [the Shlemenko] fight,” said Mousasi. “I was in a hospital. I couldn’t move and I didn’t know if I lose my eye or not. People didn’t see those parts. I didn’t know [if I lost my eye] because the doctors were talking. My eye was shut. They didn’t know what was wrong with my eye. So for a long time I was in the dark. So we didn’t know. Thank god it was no serious injury to the eye. But yeah, I can’t fight like that. I want to make money but I want to end up healthy. I don’t want to be a retard after three [fights].”
As Mousasi pointed out, he may have had his hand raised against Shlemenko, but fans were left with an unfamiliar scene: battered and bloodied Mousasi.
“Normally I don’t take any damage,” said Mousasi. “But, like I said, if you fight 100 times, eventually you’re going to see a punch that you’re not going to see or it’s going to land in the wrong place. That’s what happened. [Shlemenko] got me in the first minute and s—t happens.”
But what happens if Mousasi has a three more performances like he did against MacDonald and he emerges with no injuries or medical scares? If that scenario does present itself, Mousasi claims he would consider prolonging his career but wasn’t too optimistic.
“If I have wins like [at Bellator 206] and I don’t take damage and I’m just winning without any damage without any injury, of course I could go another three fights,” said Mousasi. “But to be honest I’m looking to see how the next three fights will go and then to be honest, I’ll quit yeah.”
Mousasi’s dismantling of MacDonald marked his 45th professional victory and 26th (T)KO. With wins over MMA icons like Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Mark Hunt, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Chris Weidman, the Dutchman’s place is history as one of top fights in combat sports history is already established. But in typical Mousasi fashion, none of that interests him.
“I really don’t care,” said Mousasi when asked about his place among the middleweight greats. “My goal was never to be the best. I always wanted to make my money, and, of course, I always wanted to win my fight. Because if you keep winning, people got to say ‘yeah, this he is the best middleweight.’ But to be honest I don’t care.”