Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images

Gegard Mousasi is still planning on making the move up to light heavyweight to challenge for a second title — as long as the money is right.

Mousasi successfully defended his middleweight title in just 85 seconds when he viciously stopped Austin Vanderford in the main event of Friday’s Bellator 275 event in Dublin, Ireland. While he was always hesitant in the past to state that he was the best fighter in the world, Mousasi now has no issue saying it as he plans to challenge the winner of the light heavyweight grand prix this year between Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson.

“I feel like I’m the best middleweight in the world now,” Mousasi said at the event’s post-fight press conference. “I’ve never said that because I never thought I was the best, but on this day, I’m the best. Don’t know about tomorrow, but today I was the best.

“If I go up [in weight], I’ll still be successful, I don’t doubt it. But every fight, I’d have to give up weight, strength, and that’s not my strength. If the guy’s [not] on the juice, physically they’re not equal with me [at 185]. But if I go up, I’ll give my advantages away, but I promised to do it, so we’ll do it. But I don’t give a f*ck about belts, I’m here to make money.”

As far as his fighting future beyond this year goes, the 36-year-old remains undecided at this point. Mousasi hopes to make 2022 his most active campaign in the last several years.

“Middle of the year, I’ll fight again, and then the end of the year, I’ll fight again,” Mousasi said. “I’m gonna sit down [after that] and evaluate where my career is going and decide whether I’m going to continue or not. For me, I have two more fights that I’ll concentrate on.”

Of course, being in Ireland, and having Conor McGregor in the crowd — a fighter Mousasi hasn’t been all that fond of over the years — the former two-division UFC champion became a talking point after Mousasi revealed the origin of his long-standing dislike of McGregor on Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour.

.@mousasi_mma told @arielhelwani about the origin of his long-standing beef with “moron” Conor McGregor #TheMMAHour

▶️ https://t.co/n6b69dUfzt pic.twitter.com/FHwIOD9qR3

— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) February 23, 2022

According to a reporter on site at Bellator 275, McGregor apparently told Vanderford to “rip his head off” in regards to Mousasi. At first, the champion thought the reporter was talking about McGregor delivering the devastation, not him relaying hopes to another fighter.

“He could’ve come, I talked with his coach and my brother is here,” Mousasi said. “He would’ve died, I swear to god. He knows. We’re not f*cking around with that guy. I don’t know that, but I have nothing against the guy.

“If he wants to come, he can come. I’m not kidding.”

The reporter then clarified that it was McGregor saying that to Vanderford, which added some positivity and a smirk to Mousasi.

“Lucky for him, he’s short,” Mousasi said.

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