Bellator Middleweight Champion Gegard Mousasi recently admitted that mixed martial arts is a job for him, not a hobby that he is passionate about.
Not many MMA fighters encapsulate the word ‘longevity’ quite like Mousasi. Since making his professional debut in 2003, the Iranian-born Dutch has competed 58 times, having his hand raised in 49 of those appearances.
But despite a storied and lengthy career spanning nearly two decades, Mousasi still finds himself at the top, where he’s widely regarded as one of the top-10 active middleweights in the world. He’ll look to maintain that reputation when he returns to the cage to defend his gold against unbeaten contender Johnny Eblen in the main event of Bellator 282 this Friday.
But despite his ongoing dominance in Bellator’s 185-pound weight class, which began after a UFC stint that featured wins over Chris Weidman, Uriah Hall, Vitor Belfort, Thiago Santos, and Dan Henderson came to an end in 2017, Mousasi isn’t exactly passionate about the sport.
During a recent interview with MMA Underground’s John Morgan ahead of the third defense of his second middleweight reign in Bellator, Mousasi shared what is perhaps a rare sentiment among fighters.
While many often express their love for MMA, and even suggest that the money isn’t the main factor for them, their passion for the sport is, Mousasi says, “What passion?”
“I’m winning my fights. It’s still going good, so that’s why I continue… I hate when people say (about passion). I don’t love it, I’ve said it a hundred times,” said Mousasi. “If I had like, 50 million in the bank, I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t do it. I’m not crazy. It’s still better than a normal job. It pays the bills and I can take care of my family.
“Passion? What passion? I’m dieting, I’m rolling with sweaty men everyday, my body hurts, I don’t sleep well when I’m training, there’s pressure; you name it,” Mousasi continued. “There’s not much enjoyment. The process is not (enjoyed), but the results (are). If the results are good, then it’s fulfilling.”
Mousasi evidently doesn’t believe in the phrase ‘find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’.
Nevertheless, while his motive might be financial, the Dutchman has still forged one of the best MMA résumés of all time and cemented his legacy as a legend of the sport. And his story is still being written, with the next page being prepared for this Friday’s Bellator event.
Where does Gegard Mousasi rank among the all-time greatest middleweights?