Image source: Douglas Lima Instagram (@phenomlima)
Earlier this month Scott Coker dropped a bombshell of a fight announcing that Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima will be making the move up to the middleweight division to take on Gegard Mousasi for the vacant title.
However, it won’t be the first time these two have strapped on the gloves and squared off as Lima revealed to MMA Fighting that he has done a few rounds of sparring with Mousasi back in 2017.
Usually fighters don’t kiss and tell when it comes to sparring sessions; what happens in sparring stays in sparring. However, Lima revealed the sparring story and admitted that Mousasi got the better of him on that day.
Lima said he was out of camp and out of shape whereas Mousasi was just two weeks out from his Bellator debut against Alexander Shlemenko. Whilst conceding that Mousasi got the upper hand in the sparring session, Lima also admitted that it was a great learning experience for him, and he has a lot of respect for Mousasi and his team.
“I was training with my friend Soldic in Germany, and Mousasi goes there to spar every Saturday. Mousasi invited me to spar, and I accepted. I was completely out of shape and got beat up by everybody in the gym. But it was great, it was quite interesting. They welcomed me really well there.
I think I did one or two rounds of sparring with Mousasi. It was alright because he saw I was very tired. That was two weeks before his fight with Shlemenko, so he was in shape and I was dead, so he beat me up.
I respect him a lot, that entire team is great. Nothing against him. It’s going to be a great fight and I’m going after the knockout the entire time.”
However, Lima says that he doesn’t believe Mousasi will read too much into their sparring sessions in preparation for their bout and actually advises that he doesn’t
“If I were him, I wouldn’t do that because this is a fight, you know? He obviously took something from that, and so did I. I picked up a few things here and there. But it’s completely different now, I can guarantee you that. As we always say, training is different from fighting.”
Lima went on to say he is happy to be fighting Mousasi as the history and pedigree the Dutchman brings to the bout combined with his striking based fighting style is exciting for Lima.
Mousasi’s last bout saw him lose the middleweight title to Rafael Lovato Jr. who later vacated the belt. However, the welterweight champion is happier to be fighting Mousasi instead of Lovato Jr. as he believes it makes for a more exciting matchup.
“The fight got even better now because Mousasi has a bigger name, has a history in MMA. Everything this guy has done, the names he’s fought, the victories he has. I’m excited, man. I’m happy with this fight. It’s going to be awesome, a great challenge for me.
It’s going to be more exciting because of his style. Rafael was getting better on the feet but he’s a grappler, and this style is better. Every fight is tough, but Mousasi and I are more exciting.”
This isn’t the first time a welterweight has stepped up to try and take the middleweight crown from Mousasi as Rory MacDonald attempted the same feat back in 2018. MacDonald came up short in his attempt against Mousasi, but Lima believes that history won’t repeat itself.
“I don’t think the weight will play a big factor because I walk around 200 pounds. The thing is, I have to show up and fight. I’m not even thinking about the weight, I’m focused on the fight. I think I’ll enjoy this division more because the weight cut will be easier.
Rory himself said he didn’t show up to fight that time. I don’t know what happened. He always goes in and fights whoever, but he kind of froze against Mousasi. Maybe he felt the weight difference, the punching power, I don’t know. I don’t even watch that fight because it makes no difference. I know he moved up and things didn’t work out for him, but it will be different for me.
I’m always going for the knockout but whatever it takes, man, I want to win. I always want the finish. This matchup right there, I know it will happen.”