Bellator MMA could have just signed a big name that has implications across multiple divisions.
MMAjunkie’s Chamaktar Sandhu reports that the #4 middleweight Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) has signed with Bellator MMA following a free agency period. Fightful spoke to a source that confirmed the move.
Later, Bellator would issue the following to Fightful.com
Bellator MMA is proud to announce the signing of perennial top contender Gegard Mousasi to an exclusive, multi-fight contract.
Long-considered to be one of the elite two-division threats in MMA, Mousasi joins Bellator currently riding a five-fight win streak that includes recent knockout victories over two former world champions in Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort. Prior to his UFC tenure, Mousasi captured the STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight title, as well as the DREAM light heavyweight and middleweight titles in Japan. The signing sees Mousasi rejoin Bellator President Scott Coker following his successful run with STRIKEFORCE from 2009-2013.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Gegard to the growing Bellator family,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “He’s one of the most well-rounded fighters in all of MMA and can compete in multiple divisions, so that really opens up some exciting matchmaking opportunities for us and for the fans. We’re looking forward to having him compete on Spike very soon.”
“I am looking forward to fighting in Bellator,” added Mousasi. “I have a long-standing relationship with Scott Coker that goes back many years. Be ready, I am coming after the Bellator middleweight championship.”
The Iranian-born Mousasi, who currently trains out of The Netherlands, has amassed an overall career record of 42-6-2 and has earned victories over some of the sports’ biggest names, including Dan Henderson, “Jacare” Souza, Mark Hunt, Ovince Saint-Preux, Melvin Manhoef, Hector Lombard and “Babalu” Sobral. The addition of Mousasi adds depth to an ever-growing Bellator roster, which has recently seen free agents Rory MacDonald, Lorenz Larkin, Michael McDonald and current Bellator light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader join the Viacom-owned promotion.
Mousasi is riding a five-fight win streak, and has defeated the likes of Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, among others. The versatile Mousasi has been known to fight at light heavyweight and heavyweight, and would be considered among the most dangerous fighters at either in Bellator.
After a controversial win over Weidman at UFC 210, Mousasi was stuck in no man's land in the middleweight division, behind a returning Georges St-Pierre, Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. An interim title fight left him out in the cold and likely a year away from an opportunity. Interestingly enough, Mousasi was offered an interim UFC Light Heavyweight Title shot against Anthony "Rumble" Johnson late last year, but Johnson turned down the fight.