Top middleweight Gegard Mousasi leaves UFC and signs with Bellator

Gegard Mousasi is the latest former UFC fighter to join Bellator. (Getty Images)

The UFC may have just crowned a new interim middleweight champion but the division has now lost one of their top fighters as Gegard Mousasi has decided against resigning with the UFC and is the latest fighter to join Bellator.

It’s not that big of a surprise considering that Mousasi had been vocal about his displeasure with both his pay and opportunities with the sport’s biggest promotion. After being unable to come to terms on a new contract, the Dutch striker rejoined with Bellator president Scott Coker, who he had a working relationship with when he fought for Strikeforce from 2009-2013 and was the light heavyweight champion.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Gegard to the growing Bellator family,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “He’s one of the most well-rounded fighters in all of MMA and can compete in multiple divisions, so that really opens up some exciting matchmaking opportunities for us and for the fans. We’re looking forward to having him compete on Spike very soon.”

Mousasi made the announcement during an appearance on “The MMA Hour” on Monday.

“I am looking forward to fighting in Bellator,” added Mousasi. “I have a long-standing relationship with Scott Coker that goes back many years. Be ready, I am coming after the Bellator middleweight championship.”

He is ranked fourth among middleweights in the official UFC rankings and is riding a five-fight winning streak that includes victories over Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort and Uriah Hall. Despite the streak, Mousasi had to watch Robert Whittaker get the opportunity to be crowned the interim middleweight champ over the weekend at UFC 213. It’s a spot that the 31-year-old assumed should have been his.

But now the 41-6-2 fighter will take his talents to Bellator in hopes of securing the promotions middleweight title and also taking aim at the light heavyweight title as well.

His first fight with the promotion will be announced in the coming days.