LAS VEGAS – When his first son was born earlier this year, Gerald Meerschaert no doubt had heard the horror stories.

He had to have expected the newborn to follow the unofficial baby rulebook, and that Meerschaert should be prepared for many, many months of sleepless nights. Instead, after a breaking-in period, his boy is playing against the stereotype.

“I’m so lucky,” Meerschaert told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day for UFC on ESPN 30 in Las Vegas. “That kid has slept through the night, eight to nine hours at a crack, after barely being alive a month. I can’t complain about nothing. (My wife and I) took a little bit of time at first – we’ll trade off who wakes up so it’s OK, and then it wasn’t bad.

“But he just eats and sleeps and smiles. I’m the luckiest guy on earth – I need recovery. I really need sleep to perform my best. I don’t know if he just gets (my job) or what, but I’m all good.”

Meerschaert (32-14 MMA, 7-6 UFC) may be thankful to have those normal nights of sleep when he steps in the cage for his middleweight bout against Makhmud Muradov (25-6 MMA, 3-0 UFC) on Saturday. Muradov is the biggest betting favorite on the card at Tipico at -650.

In his UFC career, Meerschaert has never been as big of an underdog as he is against Muradov. But it seems like that’s the kind of thing that might not matter much to someone like Meerschaert. He was an underdog against Bartosz Fabinski in April, and his submission win not only snapped a two-fight skid, but it gave him the record for most tapout wins in UFC middleweight history.

“I think it was really important, especially mentally – to put in all the work I put in,” he said. “It was just icing on the cake that I got the submission record. But I definitely needed that.

“I won’t say there was no doubt. You have the pre-fight jitters. Anyone who says that goes away, they’re lying to your face. … But I’ve had my back against the wall so many times in these fights, it’s just like, ‘I’ve just got to go fight again. If I do my absolute best, I’ve got nothing to complain about.’”

UFC on ESPN 30 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN+.

Check out the full interview with Meerschaert in the video above.


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