Gegard Mousasi was hoping to make a good impression in his first fight in the United States, a Strikeforce matchup with Renato "Babalu" Sobral that was salvaged from the doomed Affliction card. Mousasi did just that, beating Babalu by TKO and winning the Strikeforce light heavyweight belt in just a minute.
Did the 24-year-old Armenian expect to win that quickly?
"No, I didn't expect that the fight would end so quickly," Mousasi told Cagewriter. "I would expect it more in a later round because I thought Babalu was so experienced. About dominating, well, it just went quickly. Ended quickly."
The problem that Mousasi will run into, however, is that the light heavyweight division in Strikeforce is rather thin. There aren't many fighters who can realistically challenge Mousasi for his belt.
"I think [Scott Coker, president of Strikeforce] will do a good job of finding opponents. There are some good fighters in Strikeforce, and they need maybe one or two wins to get the top contender spot. I can also fight at catchweights. I can keep myself busy until it's time to defend the belt."
Mousasi has fought at both middleweight and light heavyweight, and has been comfortable moving around in weight classes.
"I think 205 is a good division for me. I'm natural now at 205. For heavyweight, I need to put more work into my fitness, gaining weight, but I don't have the time. I have a busy schedule. I cannot really gain weight because I always have to work on my cardio. In the future, I see myself as a heavyweight, maybe one or two years. Right now, 205 is an excellent division for me."
After his Strikeforce fight, Mousasi has grown in popularity in the U.S. At M-1:Breakthrough in Kansas City, he couldn't take two steps without stopping for an autograph or picture.
"I feel like, before I even fought in the U.S., there was a lot of attention to me. That felt great. I felt like I was appreciated. Basically, I never fought in the U.S., and I felt like it was really meaning something, as long as people haven't seen you fight, they don't know what to expect, and a lot of people hadn't seen me fight. I've fought basically everywhere except the U.S., so when I came here, I needed to perform well."
Mousasi does worry that his fight was over too quickly in the U.S.
"Luckily for me, it was a good fight. I was able to show a good fight. It was too short. Maybe the next fight will be longer."
Despite fighting in the U.S., Japan, Canada and all over Europe, Mousasi is a homebody who would rather stay home than travel.
"I don't like traveling. I'm most comfortable at home [in Holland]. In the U.S., everything is familiar, the food, the language, so coming to the U.S. for one week, I like it. But for two or three weeks, it's too much. I've been a lot of places. Africa is the only continent I haven't been. I've seen the world. It makes you understand some things better in the world, but I'd rather have to not travel a lot."
And as for that nickname, the Dreamcatcher?
"My friend came up with it, so blame it on him. I don't like nicknames, to be honest. I have a lot of nicknames. They called me Kingo in Japan, they called me the Young Vagabond, but that sounds bad, then Soldier of Fortune, now they call me the Dream Catcher. He said that's a good name. It's original. I read on the internet that people don't like the name. [Ed. note: Whoops] I'd rather have no nickname, but with my style, you can't really put a name on it. A good nickname for me hasn't come up. I told Strikeforce that I didn't want to use a nickname, but they put it up anyway."