The last time Gerald Meerschaert stepped into the Octagon, he earned his 35th MMA victory and made his 50th appearance. This weekend at UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2, he steps into the Octagon to face up and comer Joe Pyfer, who made a splash in his Dana White’s Contender Series fight last year. When it comes to experience, that is definitely something where Meerschaert has the edge, but does it matter when it comes time to fight?
“When you've seen it all, there's certainly nothing he's going to surprise me with,” Meerschaert said. “I've been in there with some of the best guys, I've been in the fire with some of the best strikers. I've taken shots and I've given it back. I know, and there is documented proof, that you put me in high stress, volatile situations, I can rise to the occasion and overcome adversity. That comes with experience.”
The fight between Meerschaert and Pyfer initially came together through DM, with Meerschaert originally having some messages with Pyfer’s teammate in Philadelphia, Andre Petroski.
There was no trash talking needed for this one to happen.
“He DMed me; very, very nice young man, I have nothing bad to say about him, very respectful in the message,” Meerschaert said. “It was just like, 'Hey, I see you need a dance partner. I need a dance partner. Nothing but respect if you want to do this.' So, I told my manager, he told his and it all worked out.”
Fast forward to fight week and there’s been a little more trash talk coming from Pyfer. In an interview with UFC.com, Pyfer said “he f***ing sucks” when referring to Meerschaert and stated that experience doesn’t matter when it comes to this matchup.
When Meerschaert heard what Pyfer was saying, he couldn’t do anything but laugh. At the end of the day, “GM3” knows that he’ll bring the heat on fight night.
“There's nothing wrong with promoting a fight,” Meerschaert said. “I encourage it. It's not the way I do it, because I'm going to be honest, it would seem very unauthentic coming from me because unless I know there's like malice behind it or unless they're like really talking stuff to my face, I just don't do it that often. He wants to get spicy and do stuff, more power to you; you do all the work, promote the fight, and I'll get in there and throw hands with you.”
Pyfer made his UFC debut against Alen Amedovski, where he came out victorious with a TKO in the first round. It was Pyfer’s fifth first-round finish and his seventh knockout.
On the other hand, Meerschaert is a submission specialist, earning 27 of his 35 wins by submission and six by knockout. He submitted Bruno Silva in the third round the last time he was in the Octagon in San Diego. Meerschaert acknowledged that it’s better to learn from a win than a loss and that’s exactly what he did in his fight against Silva. He believes he showed that he can hurt his foes, pointing out the fact that he finished Silva, who wasn’t even finished by current middleweight champion Alex Pereira in their matchup.
Even though Pyfer doesn’t have as much time inside the cage like Meerschaert, the 35-year-old isn’t overlooking the new kid on the block.
“He's got good power, obviously a lot of length,” Meerschaert said. “I think he's going to be a lot more comfortable in this fight than he has been in previous fights because now he's gotten a UFC win, he has been through the Contender series twice, and he's a little more used to the process. He's tough and not be overlooked. He's young, he's hungry, and those can be the most dangerous guys.”
Seven years into his UFC career, Meerschaert is still putting on exciting performances for the fans. After passing the milestone of 50 fights in his career, the middleweight looks forward to hitting 60.
He believes that his love for this lifestyle, the training, and brotherhood have allowed him to make it this far. He is fortunate to have made it to this high level and continues to remain motivated. He’ll take that motivation into his fight with Pyfer and aim to earn his second victory in a row.
“If the other guy is better, there's not really anything you can do about it at this point,” Meerschaert said. “I feel like I'm better. I feel like I have a lot of direct paths that I can choose to go about to get to a victory. As long as I give myself a chance and just let it all hang out, I think it will be good.”
UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2 took place live from Kayesa Center in Miami, Florida on April 8, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!