Mikey Musumeci (R) (ONE Championship)

Mikey Musumeci Had Choice Words for Gabriel Sousa After ONE 167

Fans got to witness Mikey Musumeci’s dark side at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II this past weekend. 

The American grappling sensation submitted old rival Gabriel Sousa in their bantamweight submission grappling rematch at ONE 167 on Friday, Jun. 7, and proceeded to cut a scathing promo afterward that cited his anger toward the Brazilian’s social media bullying.  

Musumeci held nothing back after even the scores against the last man to submit him in a match. 


“So for three or four years, this guy harassed me for every match that I did, discrediting me, ‘Yo, he’s not fighting me, he’s scared of me, he’s running away from me,’ just over and over and over and over,” Musumeci recalled to ONE

Sousa’s tactics to get inside Musumeci’s head continued during fight week, with him taunting the ONE flyweight submission grappling champion throughout. 

However, that only served to motivate him in the end. 

“It was just more about me finally shutting him up. The day before, he tried to make me flinch. He was walking chest out with me. And he brought out a part of me from when I was a kid,” Musumeci said. 

“I’m not really a tough guy, and my whole life competing with these alpha macho people, and they always would act tough, and I like action. So, it just brought out me as a kid, always dealing with this type of people.” 

For “Darth Rigatoni,” the feelings that bubbled to the surface were nothing new. It reminded him of what he had to deal with growing up. 

However, now he could do something about it, and it brought out a different side of his personality. 

“It brought out Little Mikey from when I was a kid and my anger towards that personality and that person. But, again, I got very emotional. I’m sorry, guys. But I just leave it all out there, you know,” Musumeci said. 

With redemption secure, the Evolve MMA and Cobrinha BJJ standout can start to focus on his next ONE Championship engagement.  

On Friday, Sept. 6, Musumeci will challenge Kade Ruotolo for the ONE lightweight submission grappling championship when the world’s largest martial arts organization returns to the US with ONE 168: Denver.  

The flyweight submission grappling king will move up three divisions for a shot at a second strap, and he’s planning meticulously to ensure he’s fully prepared.  

“For me, it’s not about putting on weight. It’s about just feeling as strong as I could be, right? I’m afraid if I get too heavy, I’ll lose cardio and gas out in the first minute, especially because Kade has the best cardio,” Musumeci said. 

If he gets everything right and is at his peak in terms of strength and conditioning, the watching world will be in for something special when the American pair collides. 

Having already gone up a weight class for his recent bout, Musumeci says he’ll stick to the same plan that helped him defeat Sousa. 

“I’ll definitely probably stay lighter, and maybe if I can, I’ll try to put on another 5 pounds of muscle. I feel like that would be a reasonable number, 10 pounds max,” he remarked. 

“I was trying, for this match, to eat more protein, so that helped me get a little heavier. So maybe another 5 pounds, if that.”