Scott Coker plans to keep champ Gegard Mousasi busy in 2022

    It’s been a while since Gegard Mousasi has kept his dance card constantly filled throughout a calendar year. That may change in 2022.

    Bellator president Scott Coker thinks Mousasi (48-7-2 MMA, 6-1 BMMA), his middleweight champion, is going to be busy this year starting with a title defense against Austin Vanderford (11-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) at Bellator 275 on Feb. 25 in Dublin.

    Mousasi fought four times in 2016 when he was with the UFC. But he fought just twice a year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and just once in 2020 and once in 2021.

    The latter two were crucial, though. In October 2020, he beat Douglas Lima to recapture the 185-pound title he lost to Rafael Lovato Jr. in 2019. Then he defended the belt with a TKO of John Salter in August 2021.

    Perhaps the lack of activity led Mousasi to make comments in recent years about a potentially impending retirement. Perhaps it was his mileage. Despite being just 36, Mousasi has 57 pro fights the past nearly 19 years.

    But Coker thinks people shouldn’t read much into any past talk. He said Mousasi is primed for many more fights.

    “I think he’s into it. He’s training hard,” Coker recently told MMA Junkie. “We had a nice talk, actually, a couple fights ago. He’s definitely into it. I think fighters, when they’re tired, or run down, or after fights, they say a few things. But he took that right back and he’s ready to go. He wants to fight for years to come.”

    If Mousasi gets past Vanderford – who is unbeaten, but has a fraction of the experience Mousasi has – he could be on the way to another title fight in a hurry, at least compared to what’s been his norm the past few years.

    “I think one thing we’d like to do is keep him busier this year than we have in the past,” Coker said. “I don’t mean to use COVID or all these things that happened where we kind of got bottlenecked, but this year we’re not going to have that issue. … We’ll have a whole year, and we’ll be able to keep Gegard busy, and I think he’s a fighter that needs to fight a bit more frequently than he has in the past, and that’s going to be something we want to do as well.

    “Gegard, if you’re listening, get ready because you’re going to be busy, buddy.”


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