Following the first loss of his professional career, a third round knockout to Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal aligned himself with the world-renowned American Kickboxing Academy.
He was prompted to make the move at the behest of his old wrestling buddy Daniel Cormier, who’d made the transfer from the highest levels of wrestling to MMA under the tutelage of AKA’s coaches. Lawal and Cormier prepared at AKA for their respective Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov bouts, along with Luke Rockhold and Mike Kyle; all four men defeated their opponents, with Rockhold earning the Strikeforce middleweight title and Cormier landing himself in the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix.
King Mo caught up with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani following the fight and it was clear in his comments that the inroads he’s made at AKA have done him well.
“It feels good man. It always feel good to win,” said Lawal. “I just gotta keep the momentum going with AKA, a great camp. 4-0 with the four horseman. We’re doing our thing.”
Lawal dropped the fight to Feijao back in August of 2010 and hadn’t appeared since as a result of a knee injury he incurred. Despite the fact that the company has switched ownership since then and he was ostensibly on the hook to impress his new Zuffa bosses, Lawal felt more pressure to represent his new home than his new employers.
“Nah, not really. I didn’t think of (pressure from Zuffa),” he said. “I just thought, it’s my time to do something and shine. There’s pressure on me because I went to AKA. ‘Cause, you know, AKA is a proven camp, I didn’t want to be the guy that came in, the new guy, and lose. I didn’t care about pressure from Zuffa in my first fight back, but I joined a new camp and I wanted to win for my camp and win for my people.”
Lawal has clearly found a good fit in AKA, his knockout win over Gracie proved that much. With his wrestling pedigree, athleticism and natural aptitude for the sport, spending more time at AKA will no doubt help Lawal realize his full potential.