Former Bellator middleweight champ, Gegard Mousasi (46-7-2 MMA, 4-1 Bellator) and current Bellator welterweight champ, Douglas Lima (32-7 MMA, 14-3 Bellator) are set to compete for the vacant middleweight championship on Sat. May 9, in the co main event for Bellator 243 in San Jose, California at the SAP Center.
On Monday, Feb. 18, Mousasi joined ESPN’s Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show to discuss his upcoming title fight.
During the interview, Mousasi revealed to Helwani that he and Lima have trained together in the past.
“I’ve trained with the guy, he’s really good. So it shows the caliber that Lima is. So definitely a tough challenge for me,” said Mousasi.
Helwani followed that up by asking how long ago the training session took place.
“Maybe eight months ago, something like that,” said Mousasi. (We) just trained once, and yeah, but he wasn’t in shape. So I don’t think he showed everything, I think he was holding himself back a little bit. So uh, we’re gonna see how the fights gonna go.”
Mousasi stated that he felt he got the better of Lima during sparring, but said that he isn’t taking any confidence from that, considering Lima wasn’t believed to be in shape at the time.
“Yeah it was maybe two, three rounds of sparring, yeah,” said Mousasi. “I don’t know who won. In my mind I thought I won, but he wasn’t really showing anything. You know what I mean? He was very, very careful of – yeah he was not in shape to be honest, so I cannot make anything of that.”
If one thing’s for sure, Mousasi isn’t taking his opponent lightly, despite Lima coming up a weight class.
Mousasi was complimentary of Lima for the most part of the interview, acknowledging that he is facing a very dangerous opponent with a championship mentality.
“I think he has a championship mentality. Obviously he’s confident, that’s why he wanted to come up the weight class and fight me. So like I said, he’s got nothing to lose, you know? So that’s a dangerous opponent,” said Mousasi. “I like him a lot. Nothing but respect, but I’m gonna try to beat him, yeah.”
Mousasi lost his middleweight title back in June of 2019 to Rafael Lovato Jr., who released his title in February of 2020, due to an ongoing health condition in the brain.
At Bellator 243, Mousasi will be attempting to become a two-time middleweight champion, while Douglas Lima will try to become a two-division champion.