M-1’s Gegard Mousasi Named HDNet’s “Biggest Breakthrough” of 2008: HDNet’s “Inside MMA” recently held their first-ever “Bazzie” awards to celebrate to year’s best in MMA from 2008. And the winner of its award for “Biggest Breakthrough” of 2008 was none other than M-1 Global’s own Gegard Mousasi. Gegard capped off his amazing year on Dec. 31 during FEG’s “Dynamite!!” event in which he needed just two minutes and 32 seconds to knockout K-1 standout Musashi.
Despite being one of the best technical strikers in all of mixed martial arts, Mousasi still entered his fight vs. Musashi as an underdog since it was conducted under K-1 kickboxing rules as opposed to MMA rules.
“I am very happy with this win,” said Gegard soon after the fight’s completion. “I prepared for a minimum of three rounds. The reversal of training MMA to K-1 contributed to my development as a fighter. In the end it went easier as I expected.”
In addition to beating one of Japan’s best kickboxers at his own game, Mousasi also became DREAM’s first-ever middleweight champion after winning the promotion’s first-ever middleweight Grand Prix tournament this past September at DREAM 6.
Over the course of the six-month Grand Prix, the 23-year old Armenian native recorded victories over the likes of Denis Kang, Melvin Manhoef, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and Dong Sik Yoon en route to winning the title.
In addition to his four victories competing for DREAM this year, Gegard also defeated Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos during a Hardcore Championship Fighting event in Canada and Steve Mensing during an M-1 event in Holland. The two non-Grand Prix wins meant Gegard went a remarkable 6-0 in 2008 with five of the six fights having ended by knockout, TKO, or submission in the first round. Currently ranked as the sixth best middleweight by the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts, Mousasi is positioned for an even bigger year in 2009. When asked about his goals for upcoming year, Gegard expressed a potential desire to make his pro boxing debut along with hinting at a possible fight in the U.S. under the Affliction banner.
“In the future I don’t see a challenge in more stand-up fights,” he responded when asked if the win over Musashi would mean more kickboxing fights for him. “I don’t say that I won’t be fighting K-1 but my dream is to become a boxing champion. [But] for now I will take my time to recover, rest a bit and I will visit Affliction and M-1’s [“Day of Reckoning” on Jan. 24] to see how my teammate, Fedor, will fight [as well as to] observe future opponents for the next Affliction show.”