We caught up with the DREAM middleweight Grand Prix winner & champion. In this exclusive interview Gerard tells about his emotions before & after the GP Finals, starring in a movie alongside Fedor and how it feels like training with the best heavyweight in the world. Further he reveals future plans, bureaucratic origin of his name, hints at moving up the class and much more.
Michael Mazur: Hi, Gegard. First of all, congratulations once again with your astonishing victory that September evening.
Gegard Mousasi: Thank you.
Michael: Were you nervous the day before the Finals? How did you tune yourself up for 2 fights?
Gegard: No, I was confident maybe a little bit nervous because I really needed to perform well twice in the most important fights of my career so far I didn’t really need to tune myself. The most important thing for me was to be concentrated and fight smart. Also I wasn’t thinking about the second fight - I took it fight by fight.
Michael: What was your first feeling when you realized you captured two belts?
Gegard: Actually, I didn’t feel a lot. I don’t know why… it took some time before I realized that I had done well and that bigger things were coming.
Michael: Russians compare you to Fedor. You are similar to him in being reserved and not smiling too much. Were you happy at all?
Gegard: Yes, I was but not as happy as I was expecting myself to be. I remember when couple years ago I won the Cage Warriors title I was so happy that I couldn’t sleep the whole night. I was standing in front of the mirror and I had the belt underneath the clothes and then I was walking through the streets of Nottingham.
Michael: Where do you keep the belts?
Gegard: Both belts are at home.
Michael: Are you satisfied with the way how you won those two bouts? Did you expect these fights to end that quickly?
Gegard: Every win that doesn’t go to judges’ score card is good for me. I was especially happy with the victory over Melvin because I had challenged him and I wanted to prove something to the Dutch fans but I prepared myself for the long war of attrition and didn’t expect the fights would end so quickly.
Michael: You said it was difficult for you because you became friends with Jacare and Zelg. Are you still friends now?
Gegard: Yes, they are really nice guys and great sportsmen. I would really love to train with them and now when me and my team have decided to move up a division I don’t need to worry of thinking that I probably have to fight them one day.
Michael: Did you celebrate your victory the same night or afterwards?
Gegard: No, nothing special. Actually I was really tired that day. On arrival in Holland I was greeted by my friends and family. Then we gathered at house for some meal and we talked about the tournament. I am really a boring guy in terms of celebrating (laughs).
Michael: Do you know your next opponent? When is your next fight?
Gegard: No, It will be the New Year’s show in Japan or the Affliction show in January but I don’t know the definitive name of my opponent yet.
Michael: Did you talk to Akiyama personally?
Gegard: No, at the press-conference I said that people would love to see me fight Akiyama but he said that he wasn’t interested and that he wanted to fight Yoshida so there is no reason for me to stay in this weight division anymore. It’s time to let my body grow and get bigger.
Michael: You made the perfect record going 6-0 in 2008. Would you agree to take part in one of the M-1 Challenge events in November as the Superfight participant or will you take a break until NY Eve?
Gegard: I have a lot of things that I want to do so I will have to skip the m-1 challenge fight. I plan to have a good rest and prepare for a fight on NY Eve or Affliction 2.
Michael: What is a movie you are going to star in alongside Fedor? What is this movie about? What’s your role in it?
Gegard: I am going to Thailand for it. I don’t now a lot about the movie yet but they said I could have a small part in the movie maybe a sidekick of Fedor (laughs). I really don’t know much about it as of yet.
Michael: How much of your time will this movie take? Won’t it disturb your training process?
Gegard: I am going there for 10 days. I will train with Fedor and also work on my standup game.
Michael: Please, tell something about the trainings with Fedor. What did you learn from him?
Gegard: I trained with him in Holland. What I noticed is that he moves with amazing speed. He seems to be an agile middleweight with destructive punching power of a heavyweight. Moreover his takedowns are phenomenally effective. He uses his hips very well while moving. I learned a lot from our joint training. To tell you the truth, he’s the one who inspired me to move up the class. Just like him, I intend to achieve high speed of moving and explosiveness. I believe, that’s what so many heavyweights have been missing.
Michael: What is the origin of your surname? It doesn’t sound as Armenian.
Gegard: It should have been Geghard instead of Gegard. It’s a church name in Armenia and my last name had been changed when we came to Holland. It was something that happened accidently while it should have been Mofsesiyan.
Michael: How had you got signed by Red Devil?
Gegard: My manager works with Vadim (Finkelstein). They know each other for a long time now.
Michael: How many brothers and sisters do you have beside Gevik?
Gegard: I have one elder sister.
Michael: Had you won any titles or prizes in the Martial Arts before you came to MMA?
Gegard: I did in amateur boxing but nothing special.
Michael: So, you still plan to fight at light heavyweight eventually. Against whom at light heavy would you like to fight?
Gegard: I don’t know, it’s a tough division so I am going to jump to heavyweight as soon as possible (laughs).