Gegard Mousasi may be leaving his days as a middleweight behind him after all.
Ever since Mousasi won the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix last year, all he’s been able to talk about is moving up to light heavyweight and eventually heavyweight. And, according to Five Oz., that move may be happening sooner rather than later.
DREAM middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi could make his light heavyweight debut on May 25 at DREAM.9 vs. UFC and Affliction veteran Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.
FiveOuncesofPain.com originally reported the matchup as being finalized upon hearing the news Friday afternoon from Mousasi’s manager, Apy Echteld. However, additional sources within M-1 Global later informed the site that the Mousasi vs. Sokoudjou fight is still tentative.
I’m not sure what weight Mousasi is walking around at these days, but if this fight happens and Mousasi isn’t at a significant weight disadvantage, I suspect this will be one hell of a tough fight for Sokoudjou. Mousasi has proved he’s skilled in all facets of mixed martial arts, whereas Sok has really only shown that he has a few powerful strikes in his arsenal to complement his judo background, and unfortunately, not much else at this fairly early stage in his career.
Personally, I’d rather see Mousasi stick around at middleweight and see how he fares against the world’s best. Plus, Sokoudjou could really benefit from the opportunity to fight a few lower-level fighters to give himself time to gain a little more experience and develop his game instead of being thrown to the wolves fight after fight, but that’s how the fight game goes sometimes I guess.
It is interesting to hear this fight being discussed for DREAM and not Affliction though. Mousasi had been rumored to competing on the next Affliction card for a while now, and Sokoudjou last fought at “Day of Reckoning,” so it would seem to make a little more sense to take place in the States instead of Japan. Perhaps that’s why it’s still tentative. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.
In related news, more bouts for DREAM.8 were announced yesterday. Sergei Kharitonov will be taking on Jeff Monson in a heavyweight fight that could be worth watching but really doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. The rest of the welterweight grand prix participants and first round match-ups were also announced. The two best fighters in the field—Shinya Aoki and Mach Sakurai—are still fighting each other in the first round, so whoever wins that fight will likely go on to win the grand prix, although it is a tournament, so anything can happen. You can check out the current DREAM.8 line-up in our fight cards section.
[UPDATE 3/28/09 12:30AM ET]: The Mousasi-Sok report appears to have been a little premature considering Sok’s camp hadn’t even heard about until today.
Word that Dream middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi will face Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in a light heavyweight tilt for Dream 9 in May was news to the Team Quest fighter’s management and camp on Friday.
“It’s possible, but we really haven’t talked about it with Dream yet,” said the Team Quest rep Heath Sims. “We’ve talked about fighting, but we’ve [also] talked about fighting other opponents.”
“It’s a big fight and it’s a tough guy,” said Sims. “Thierry’s really looking to re-build his career, so I’m not sure that’s a fight we really want to take at this point,” said Sims.
Glad to hear Sok and his people are trying to do the right thing for his career. Looks like this rumor’s been busted.