Gegard Mousasi has little left to accomplish in professional mixed martial arts, but the shine of an Ultimate Fighting Championship title remains notably absent from his mantle.
The 31-year-old former Dream, Strikeforce and Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder can take a significant step towards filling that void when he meets Chris Weidman in the UFC 210 co-main event on Saturday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York (online betting). Mousasi enters the high-stakes match beneath champion Michael Bisping in the middleweight pecking order, jockeying for position in a long line of contenders that includes Weidman, Georges St. Pierre, Yoel Romero, Ronaldo Souza, Luke Rockhold and Robert Whittaker. Currently on a four-fight winning streak, “The Dreamcatcher” last appeared in the UFC Fight Night 99 headliner on Nov. 19, when he put away Uriah Hall with first-round punches in the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and avenged a surprising 2015 defeat to “The Ultimate Fighter 17” finalist.
As Mousasi approaches his pivotal showdown with Weidman, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He has piled up the frequent-flyer miles.
Since he debuted on April 27, 2003, Mousasi has fought in 12 different countries: Netherlands, Finland, Russia, Ireland, Japan, England, Canada, the United States, Sweden, Brazil, Germany and the Philippines.
2. The Tehran, Iran, native has never shied away from high-level competition.
Mousasi has beaten opponents who have won titles in Cage Rage (Melvin Manhoef), Ring of Combat (Hall and Costas Philippou), Bellator MMA (Hector Lombard), Strikeforce (Souza and Renato Sobral), Pride Fighting Championships (Dan Henderson) and the UFC (Vitor Belfort). The six men who have defeated him -- Hall, Souza, Lyoto Machida, Muhammed Lawal, Akihiro Gono and Petras Markevicius -- have combined for 143 victories and a .719 winning percentage.
3. He has a long-established knack for the quick finish.
A dynamic offensive fighter with potent striking and submission skills, Mousasi has recorded 11 of his 41 career wins in 90 seconds or less. He owns finishes of 10, 31, 35, 40, 60, 62, 65, 70, 79, 88 and 89 seconds.
4. Consistency has been a hallmark.
Mousasi has never suffered back-to-back losses in his 49-fight career. Meanwhile, he has put together winning streaks of four (twice), eight and 15 bouts. During his 15-fight tear between Nov. 5, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2009, he notched victories against Lombard, Souza, Manhoef, Denis Kang, Evangelista Santos, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt, among others.
5. The judo black belt has dominated his UFC opposition from a statistical standpoint.
Mousasi has compiled an 8-3 record inside the Octagon and landed more total strikes (650-200), recorded more takedowns (9-6), attempted more submissions (3-2) and executed more guard passes (22-9) than his 11 opponents, per FightMetric.