It's never taken much to get Gegard Mousasi to fight. The 28 year-old has fought professionally in MMA for eleven years and compiled 38 total fights in that time.
These days, Mousasi is one of the more experienced members of the UFC roster but his first MMA fight came with just two weeks of grappling practice for the Dutch fighter, however. "I started with boxing and orignally wanted to be a professional boxer," he remembers.
"That was difficult to do in Holland, though. So, I did some kickboxing and then there was an MMA fight coming up and there was a fight opening. At the time, I had been grappling for just two weeks. I was young and wanted to fight so it wasn't very hard to convince me [laughs]."
When someone as young as Mousasi has fought as often as he has, it is clear that he has a burning passion for the sport. In contrast, the Armenian-descended striker is also known as one of the most calm and collected fighters in MMA.
"You always, of course, have nerves before a fight. There’s a lot at stake and you want to perform but once I'm in the cage I don’t feel a lot," he explains.
"I'm never scared. I just don’t feel a lot. You fight the best fight when you don’t have a lot of emotions. People think that going into the cage angry will help you but it's not the case. The guy who has better control of his emotions has an advantage."
Mousasi's impressive fight psychology has not been tested by losses often but when he steps into the Octagon Saturday in the UFC Fight Night: Berlin main event against Mark Munoz, the European warrior will be attempting to come back from a tough decision loss to Lyoto Machida in February. Speaking exclusively with Cagewriter in Berlin this week, the fighter is honest about the negative affects of losing but insists that he's gotten right, mentally.
"After a loss you lack a little bit of motivation," he details.
"When you win you look forward to the next fight. I was really looking forward to that fight because I thought that maybe I could get a title shot afterwards or be close to a title shot. After a loss, it is hard to get motivated but you have to. The guys at this level have to stay motivated because everyone is so good. I have trained hard for this fight like I do for every fight and I think that with two more wins I can be a contender again."
Munoz is also attempting to rebound from a loss to Machida. He's also not kept secret the fact that he hopes to use his excellent wrestling skills to take down and control Mousasi for the win, much in the same way Muhammed Lawal did in 2010.
Mousasi says that his approach to the Lawal fight was all arong, however, and that he's learned and improved since then. He's the calm, cool, "Dream Catcher" fans have come to expect but it's also clear that Mousasi's last losses still irritate him and that he's confident he won't repeat old mistakes.
"I thought that I would just go in and punch him in face, and obviously that doesn't work too well," Mousasi chuckles.
"If you are too aggressive, you become easy to take down. I wasn’t conscious of that and just moved forward with no footwork instead of being light on my feet. If I'm just trying to punch him, obviously, that's what the guy wants. It makes the take down easier. And, obviously, Lawal is a good wrestler. It would have been hard to defend take downs no matter what. But, I've learned from those mistakes."
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