Two fighters of essentially the same age enter a room. The first holds a record of 15-1 with six straight wins, twelve stoppages, and a past win over Mauricio Rua. The second is 33-3-2 with 29 finishes, a single loss in his last 22 fights, and notches on his belt including the names of Ronaldo Souza and Mark Hunt. However, given their similar excellence, one is considered a distinct favorite.
While working out odds-makers’ logic on the matter, the competitors in question are clearly Alexander Gustafsson and Gegard Mousasi in relation to their April 6 headliner at UFC on Fuel 9. And, though Gustafsson seems to be the popular pick when it comes to the likely winner, Mousasi plans on showing people why the smart money is on him when the two scrap in Stockholm.
“I’m the underdog, but I don’t care. It’s a fight,” said Mousasi to MMAJunkie in his standard calm, collected manner.
“Of course, he’s fought a lot more in the UFC, so he’s the favorite. I understand that. I hope (people are overlooking me). They don’t expect anything for me, so I cannot disappoint anybody,” he continued. “I like this position much better. I don’t have any pressure.”
As a former DREAM/Strikeforce champion, the 27-year old Mousasi understands what it’s like to have a spotlight planted squarely on his shoulders. While he may not feel that heat this time around, especially given the bout taking place in Gustafsson’s proverbial backyard, the chance to be named top contender isn’t lost on Mousasi.
“This is a big opportunity for me fighting a guy like Gustafsson. I want to take full advantage of that,” Mousasi confirmed.
Mousasi was last seen securing a first-frame submission over Mike Kyle in January, ending a successful run under the Strikeforce banner. His go at Gustafsson will mark Mousasi’s debut in the Octagon.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE/MMAWEEKLY