Fifty-one fights into his professional MMA career Gerald Meerschaert has no intention of slowing down. Even with 27 submissions, six knockouts and two decision wins under his belt, “GM3” hasn’t thought about the legacy he has created as a mixed martial artist.
“I don't know (what my legacy looks like) because I'm not done yet,” Meerschaert said. “I don't really think about it too much. It's cool to say out loud sometimes: 'Oh yeah, I guess I have fought a lot compared to a lot of people,' but I guess I'll think about legacy more when I'm a little bit closer to the end.”
There’s no doubt that Meerschaert has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with the amount of experience that he has. The most recent low coming earlier this year in Miami when he was finished by middleweight prospect Joe Pyfer. Meerschaert has won four of his last six, and even though it hasn’t been a perfect journey, he isn’t one to dwell on the losses or the hard times.
He knows it is a part of the game.
“I started out losing twice; my first two fights I lost,” Meerschaert said. “I think, for better or worse, I'm used to it. Everybody loses, some guys compete (elsewhere) before they get here, so they have their losses somewhere else. Mine are just more public. That's the thing; we all lose. It's how you deal with losses, not how many wins you have.”
Now Meerschaert plans to get things back on track when he faces Pennsylvania’s Andre Petroski, another one of those up-and-comers in the middleweight division, and one who trains with Pyfer.
This time around, it seems that everything is clicking into place for the 35-year-old, including a solid training camp, which is something that he didn’t have before his last fight.
“The training camp wasn't as smooth as it could be for some stuff that was outside of my control,” Meerschaert said. “I still showed up, I still made weight. I still felt like I could go out there and do what I needed to do. It's not a position I haven't been in before. I pick myself up, dust myself off and go out there and do my thing.”
When I visited Petroski in Pennsylvania last October, he said he wanted to face Meerschaert to see how their grappling abilities would match up, and now he is getting his wish. Since he made his UFC debut in 2021, Petroski has gone 4-0 inside the Octagon, with two submissions, one TKO and one decision win.
As someone who holds the record for most submissions in UFC middleweight history with nine, Meerschaert is excited to test himself against Petroski.
“He's got good grappling, I've got good grappling and I think he's a person whose confidence has grown with each win, so I truly do believe that I will get the best version of him,” Meerschaert said. “I know he's been talking a lot, saying that he's the best grappler in the division, so that would be another feather in the cap for me and, hopefully, I extend my submission record.”
The obvious strength of Petroski’s ground game is clear to Meerschaert, but he believes you need more in order to come out successful.
“I use a lot of more techniques,” Meerschaert said. “I'll throw a lot of stuff out there, see what sticks. I think my straight jiu jitsu is a little bit better, but a lot of times when you get two grapplers, most of the fight is on the feet, so I think that will be really exciting and I got some power in my hands, so I'm looking forward to that.”
At the end of the day, Meerschaert made it clear that he isn’t here for a grappling match. The way to victory is to “make it a fight and hurt him” and earning that victory would put Meerschaert back on the right path.
“I've been in the UFC for a few years and the biggest win streak I've had is only three fights,” Meerschaert said. “I'd like to extend that, for sure, and if I'm going to start thinking about being in any kind of contention for any sort of top spot, I got to start winning again.”