Bellator champion believes he can beat UFC counterpart Israel Adesanya

israel adesanya, bellator
Credit: Bellator MMA/Lucas Noonan

Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi believes he still has the sklills to beat elite UFC counterparts Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker, even at 36-years-old.

Since signing with Bellator in 2017, Mousasi (48-7-2) has been one of the promotion’s very best talents. That is not much of a surprise since he has often excelled in whatever promotion he’s competed in– including the UFC. Where he called home for four years and earned a 9-3 record.

With his next title defense against Austin Vanderford just hours away in the headliner of Bellator 275 in Dublin, Ireland, the question of where he now stands amongst his 185-pound contemporaries — like Adesanya and Whittaker — was asked during a recent interview with MMAFighting. And “The Dreamcatcher” believes he is as good as he’s ever been as he enters his fifty-seventh bout as a professional cage fighter.

Bellator champ Gegard Mousasi says he can beat Israel Adesanya

“I can hang in there with those guys, 100 percent,” Mousasi said. “I’m at my best at this division and I believe that I’m at my best ever. My friends tell me [that I have] never felt stronger, so I feel very confident going into the fight and I could easily say I’m a top-three middleweight in the world. I can beat anybody in this division.”

During his time in the Octagon, Mousasi scored impressive wins over elite fighters and future UFC Hall-of-Famers like Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, and Chris Weidman. Since moving to the competition, he has lost just once in seven fights. So it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he is getting better with age.

Could Mousasi compete at an elite level at 40?

israel adesanya, bellator
Credit: Bellator MMA/Lucas Noonan

Mousasi feels so confident in his continued growth as a professional fighter, that he believes he could still compete at an elite level until he is 40.

“I’ve never said I’m the best middleweight because I’ve never believed it, but the way I feel for this fight, the way that I feel right now, I feel like I could easily be the best middleweight,” said Mousasi. “Of course, Vanderford is in front of me, so let me see what I’m going to do to him first.

“I could fight another four years on top without a doubt. I could if I wanted to, but I don’t know. I’m not planning [on fighting that long].”

Bellator 275 takes place on Feb. 25 and kicks off with preliminary action at 1 PM ET on the Bellator YouTube channel. The main card follows at 4 PM ET exclusively on Showtime.

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