Put everything together, and there is a fire in Mousasi's voice that hasn't been there in some time. "I have it in the back of my head," he measuredly explains. "This fight is a very important fight. It's a very important fight for my future and career.
"I see a lot of fighters getting knocked out, but they still, they praise them a lot more than me. I haven't been beaten badly in any fight. I just lost one fight in, I don't know how many fights. I think people underestimate me. And I feel like now, with the good training I have, why shouldn't I be able to fight these UFC fighters?"
Mousasi admits it's tough not to look ahead when such a colossal opportunity is so close. If he had his wish, he'd fight Shogun Rua, Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida, or Alexander Gustafsson for his Octagon debut, though really anyone in the top-10 would suffice. Mousasi knows he's small for the division -- he walks around barely above 210 pounds -- but he's confident his technique, speed and conditioning will neutralize any weight advantage his opponents may have. And if things don't pan out like they should, Mousasi would be open to a move down to middleweight.
But things will pan out, he's sure of it. He can feel it. For too long his critics have thrown around that damnable word. Overrated. Everything has built to this moment. And now it all begins with Kyle. "I'm almost to my goal," he promises.
"This is the time. If I don't do it now, maybe I won't get a second chance. I feel like everything is falling into its place."
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