Muhammed Lawal is a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion who has made a name for himself in a short time in MMA.
“King Mo” meets Roger Gracie Saturday night at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov in a bout that could help shape the future of the 205-pound division in Strikeforce.
Lawal (7-1) is a wrestler by trade, having earned NCAA All-American honors while competing for Oklahoma State University. He has not fought since dropping the title to Rafael Cavalcante in 2010 by TKO in the third round.
And, while Gracie (4-0) has the obvious advantage in the ground game, Lawal is not worried about hitting the ball with him.
“I’m not worried about him taking me down. I’m going to take his (expletive) down…Why not?” said Lawal during Thursday’s press conference. “It’s MMA. I can stand. I can take him down. Whatever presents itself, I’m going to do. I’m a wrestler. He’s a jiu-jitsu guy. I’m out there to win my fight. I can keep it standing, but you know what? There are going to be times when I shoot. If he stands upright like that, I’m going to take him down.
“It doesn’t have to be a perfect double leg. It can be a knee-tap. It can be a trip. There are different ways to take people down without falling in their guard. People don’t realize that because a lot of people don’t really know wrestling. They think, ‘Oh, single leg, double leg.’ There are other moves you can hit other than just a single leg and a double leg. There are modified single legs. There are modified double legs you can hit.”
Lawal also doesn’t think it would be a good idea for UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre to move up to face UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, despite many feeling it could be the biggest fight in the history of the sport.
“I think it’d be a tough fight for GSP, but personally, between me and you, I don’t think that fight should even happen,” Lawal said. “Georges should stay at 170 and just keep winning. That’s kind of asking a lot for somebody to bump up to fight somebody who walks around at 220. Stay in your weight class, Georges. If you want to go up, put on the proper weight and go up.”
Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov is set for Saturday night. FightLine.com will have you covered throughout the day with up-to-the-minute live reports, including ongoing coverage of the event.