Looks like Paulo Filho isn’t the only high profile middleweight set for a move up to light heavyweight.
Sources close to the fighter have informed Fightline.com that DREAM middleweight Grand Prix winner Gegard Mousasi (27-2-1) will move up to light heavyweight and may fight at Affliction’s third show against the winner of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Renato “Babalu” Sobral. That fight is slated to take place at Affliction’s upcoming “Day of Reckoning” event on Jan. 24.
Fightline.com contacted Mousasi who confirmed the news and reported that he not only wants to fight at light heavyweight but will eventually move up to heavyweight.
“I’m moving up a division so I’m now at 216, 217 pounds,” said Mousasi. “I’m going to train a little bit more with weights and I’m aiming for 235 eventually. If I can make the weight well I may go straight to heavyweight but I think first the smartest thing to do is go to light heavyweight and then to heavyweight.”
The 23-year-old Mousasi had apparently run out of challenges at middleweight and was contending with a growing frame that no longer supported cutting to the middleweight limit of 185lbs.
“I challenged [Yoshihiro] Akiyama but Akiyama didn’t want to fight. So to me the next challenge is to move up a division. It’s not because I don’t see middleweight as a challenge but because my body’s getting bigger. I always came down, came down and because of my age my body’s getting bigger and bigger. It’s something that I needed to do. I think the timing is good to go up.”
Mousasi, who currently has 2 fights left on his non-exclusive contract with DREAM, will be in attendance at Affliction and M-1’s “Day of Reckoning”. He’ll be there to support his teammate and idol Fedor Emelianenko, and perhaps to scout his next opponent.
“I may fight the winner of Babalu vs. Sokoudjou but I don’t know for sure,” said Mousasi. “It’s eventually up to Affliction and M-1 who they want me to fight. It’s a tough division because every guy is explosive, every guy is fast and has good strength. It’s a tough division and there’s a lot of good names
But a light heavyweight crown is not likely in the current middleweight champions’ future.
“It’s not my goal to be the best light heavyweight in the world,” stated Mousasi. “Something I’ve always wanted is to be a heavyweight. I plan, over one year maybe two years, to build to heavyweight. I can get to 106 or 108 kilos (233-238lbs.).” I think one of the reasons I will do well in heavyweight is if I can keep the speed, explosiveness and movement of a middleweight it will make it hard for other heavyweights to fight against me. I really want to fight against the tall heavy guys because people think ‘Oh, he’s too much bigger’, stuff like that. So that motivates me. If your mentally prepared, I don’t think size matters. If you look, Mike Tyson was a small guy, Fedor is a small guy, and look at Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya, he was much smaller but it didn’t matter so I look at that and say to myself that if these guys can do it, maybe I can do it also.