Gegard Mousasi (born August 1, 1985) is a professional Dutch-Armenian mixed martial artist and kickboxer. He is fighting out of Team Sahinbas in Leiden, Netherlands and is a member of M-1 Global. He is the former Dream Middleweight Champion, Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion and the current Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion. Fight! Magazine’s online rankings placed Mousasi as the #2 middleweight in the world, while Sherdog ranked Mousasi at #3 and MMAWeekly ranked him as #7. He is currently under contract by M-1 Global and his longtime manager is Apy Echteld.
Gegard Mousasi was born to Armenian parents in Iran. At the age of 8, Mousasi and his family relocated to Leiden, Netherlands, where he finished grade school before even developing an interest in martial arts.
He started practicing Judo and later boxing at age 15; twelve months later he became the amateur boxing champion of the Netherlands. When he figured out that he couldn’t make it to the top of the boxing world due to Holland lacking boxing expertise, he switched to kickboxing, and then eventually to mixed martial arts.
In the first round of the Dream’s 2008 Middleweight Grand Prix at Dream 2 he defeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Denis Kang by triangle choke. In the second round of the tournament, at Dream 4, he won a decision victory over Dong Sik Yoon and advances to the final round which took place at Dream 6. There he fought and submitted K-1 veteran Melvin Manhoef in the semi-finals before meeting up with submission specialist Ronaldo Souza in the final. Mousasi defeated Souza by an upkick after being taken down by the Brazilian, thus becoming the first Dream Middleweight Champion and 2008 Middleweight Grand Prix tournament winner.
In a somewhat surprise to the MMA world, Gegard agreed to take on Japanese K-1 fighter Musashi in a K-1 rules fight at Dynamite!! 2008. Being an open weight fight Gegard weighed in at 97.8 kg/216 lbs, all but confirming his desire to move up in weight classes. Gegard stated after winning the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix he would no longer fight at middleweight due to the large weight cut. Gegard was not favored to win the match against the more experienced Musashi, but came out fast and scored a first round KO. Gegard went undefeated in 2008 going 6-0 in MMA, and 1-0 in K-1.
In interviews from early 2009, Mousasi stated the weight he put on after winning Dream’s middleweight tournament was too much for him to cut back down to middleweight and that his next fights would be at light-heavyweight and eventually heavyweight instead.
Mousasi was set to fight Renato “Babalu” Sobral at Affliction/M-1: Trilogy on August 1, 2009, but the event was canceled after losing its main event 10 days prior to the event. It was originally planned for him to face Vitor Belfort at that event, but there was a disagreement between both fighters over which weight class the fight would be fought at. On Monday July 27th, 2009 it was announced that the cancelled bout between Sobral and Mousasi would take place on the August 15 Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg card and the fight became a contest for the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight championship belt. Mousasi defeated Sobral via KO in the first round to become the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion.