Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has just announced light heavyweight king Gegard Mousasi inked a two-year, four-fight contract extension late Thursday night to remain with the San Jose, California-based promotion.
Coker confirmed Mousasi’s deal with MMAjunkie.com on Friday afternoon.
Following his “bitter” and abrupt exit from M-1 Global, the Russian management team that was directing the 24-year-old’s skyrocketing career, questions immediately sprouted regarding Mousasi’s current Strikeforce contract situation.
MMAJunkie’s report did not specify how many bouts were remaining on his original deal, so it’s impossible to determine exactly when Mousasi’s commitment to Strikeforce will be completely fulfilled.
After claiming Dream’s Middleweight Grand Prix in 2008, Mousasi voluntarily left the strap behind to focus on the 205-pound division. The striker jumped stateside and quickly claimed Strikeforce’s light heavyweight title with a 60-second shellacking of then-champ Renato “Babalu” Sobral in August.
Mousasi will put his strap on the line for the first time when he meets Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal at “Strikeforce: Nashville” this Saturday inside the Bridgestone Arena in Tennessee.
The 205-pound contest marks his third in America and second on CBS, the ultimate trump card the UFC can’t match. Although he’s one of the world’s most popular fighters, fans in the U.S. aren’t aware of his game because most of his damage has been done overseas.
Perhaps that was one of the driving forces behind Mousasi’s decision to stay with the smaller promotion and not test the Octagon waters.
“I think you need to be on CBS a couple times for people to remember you,” Mousasi told 5thRound.com of trying to gain popularity in America. “I think one time is not going to be enough. I have the opportunity, I am very fortunate.
“Of course, when you get the chance you also have to take it, and I am planning on definitely showing a very good fight.”
Watch Gegard Mousasi’s exclusive interview with 5thRound.com and hear what he had to say about his past, present and future: