“It’s business nowadays. If you don’t talk, you don’t get anywhere.”
Ever since his famous/infamous mic drop during UFC London’s post-fight press conference, interest in Gegard Mousasi has steadily increased among news sites and fight fans. For someone who has perpetually been described as quiet, calm, and stoic, this version of Mousasi caught everyone off guard, surprising even the current middleweight champion Michael Bisping, at that time sharing the card with him and having just defeated the great Anderson Silva. “I’ve never seen so much personality out of Gegard,” said Bisping during the said presser. “I like this Gegard. Look at this guy. You’ve got a snappy shirt on.”
What came after was a string of victories – all four coming by way of KO/TKO – that catapulted the former Strikeforce, Dream, and Cage Warriors champion into the Top 5 of the middleweight division and very much into title contention.
Is Mousasi 2.0 a by-product of the Conor McGregor era of the UFC? The answer seems to be both a “Yes” and a “No.” “I’m just showing more of my character,” Mousasi told MMA Philippines during our one-on-one. “I’ve been fighting a lot in Japan. In Japan, you show up, you have to be humble, you have to respect your opponent, then you fight. But this is America. It’s different. [If you don’t talk,] you wouldn’t get your title shot.”
While certainly more verbose, Mousasi however does not believe in “acting” to sell himself. “I’m still myself. I’m not an actor. Some people, once the camera starts rolling, they’re in a role. They’re acting. I’m just being myself. I’m having more fun. I’m more open to give my opinion about stuff. Before, I was just being politically correct.” And if you’ve been following him enough, you realize that he has never descended to talking trash about his opponents, never building storylines of personal grudges or being disrespected, yet more relatable with his candid comments, especially about the UFC and the current middleweight picture.
So, between the two versions of Gegard Mousasi, who is the real one? “This has always been me. Now, I give my opinion on other fighters, but I still give my respect to all of them. It’s business nowadays. If you don’t talk, you don’t get anywhere.”
How about you? Are you a fan of Mousasi 2.0?