After Saturday night's UFC 145 card, there are many left wondering who will be the one to dethrone Jon Jones. With an incredible reach advantage, and a very well rounded, complete game, the list is relatively short. I spoke with Muhammed Lawal recently, to get his take on the situation, and find out what's on the horizon for "King" Mo.
Stephie Daniels: How do you feel about UFC fight bonuses?
Mo Lawal: I think they're good, but a lot of people put too much emphasis on trying to win those bonuses instead of on winning their fights. What it comes down to, is that you can still get cut if you win a bonus, especially the fight of the night bonus. Get them wins, because you can't deny a winner. You can be boring as Hell, but if you're winning, they can't deny you, so you're going to get paid.
Stephie Daniels: What was your opinion of the Jones/Evans fight?
Mo Lawal: You know, it was a good fight. Jones used his reach real good. I think Rashad did a good job, but he just needs to close the distance more and should fight more in his range. Jones did did good with keeping him at bay. Rashad fought a good first and second, and the first part of the third round, while he was moving forward. He just got outworked and outpointed.
It's not like Jones brutalized him or anything like that. Everybody tries to make it seem that way. Jones went out there and got a victory, which you're supposed to do. He fought smart and outworked him. Other than the elbows, it wasn't like he was out there throwing sonic booms. He was just out there, being Jon Jones, and outpointing him.
Stephie Daniels: What do you think is the key to beating Jon Jones?
Mo Lawal: I think it's going to be the person that goes out there with confidence, and doesn't care.
Stephie Daniels: What do you think of Dan Henderson being named as Jon's next opponent?
Mo Lawal: I think that Jon Jones has got to use his distance, but if Dan goes out there and fights like, 'F*ck it', he can make it an interesting fight. As far as wrestling, Dan can get taken down if he gets tired, but the first few rounds, I don't see him getting taken down.
It all depends on which Dan shows up, and if he can stay healthy. That dude is a soldier [laughs]. I can't count how many times he's fought with pneumonia, and has fought sick. People just don't know. He fought Fedor while he was sick, fought Shogun sick. He fought back in PRIDE sick, a lot of times, but he fights anyway. I think Dan has a chance.
I laugh when people say fighters are unbeatable or unstoppable. Everybody is beatable. The only thing that's unstoppable is time.
Stephie Daniels: If Henderson isn't able to get by him, who do you think has the best chance to beat Jon Jones?
Mo Lawal: Sh*t, me. I'd fight him, and honestly, I think I could beat him. In the Mousasi fight, I was very inexperienced. I would've taken more chances if I could do it over again, because I like to go out there and fight.
I'd also like to see Rashad Evans get back in there again, after a few adjustments. He wasted a lot of energy just moving around, and getting stalked. It's easier to walk somebody down than it is to move around and be a jitterbug. I'd like to see him either walk him down or stand in the center and punch with him, because I think he could win.
Stephie Daniels: Do you think that they'll ever be able to bury their personal issues?
Mo Lawal: Who knows. They could. Maybe they could sit down with Greg (Jackson) and talk. It's up to them. Personally, I wouldn't. I'd just keep on moving. If they were really that tight from the get go, that fight would've never happened.
Stephie Daniels: I recently saw a video interview with Dana White where he commended you for reaching out to Pat Lundvall to apologize for your comments toward her. What are your thoughts on this, and have you heard from him or anyone at ZUFFA?
Mo Lawal: No, nothing at all. It's cool he said that. Thanks Dana, I appreciate it.
I don't know what's going to happen, though. I'm just going to have to see. I'm going to go wherever I get the best offer, and where I'm wanted.
Stephie Daniels: Is it in the cards at all, for you to possibly wait out your suspension before making a decision?
Mo Lawal: I don't really know about all that. I would like to know when I'd be fighting. I've only got four more months, and I'd like to know that as soon as I'm done, I'm going to be ready to start banging.
It's wherever the money is at, and whoever wants me. I'm going to be real with you. You don't get rid of what you want to keep.
Stephie Daniels: You've expressed interest in the past in pro wrestling. Have you entertained any offers from WWE or TNA?
Mo Lawal: Not at the moment. See, here's the thing, I turned pro wrestling down to continue real wrestling, and to make the jump to MMA. I love combat. I love to fight. I love pro wrestling, but I think I like fighting a little more. Actually, a lot more. I like to punch somebody in the f*cking face. I like to do damage. That's just me.
Stephie Daniels: How's your knee and your overall health? Are you doing any kind of light training or just rehab?
Mo Lawal: Well, I've been doing rehab stuff, and just taking it slow. I can probably go back to training in about a month and a half or so. My knee is good, and my health is good. I'm up to 203 pounds now, and slowly putting my weight back on. I was never a big 205er, so if I hit 218, which is my max, then I'm good.
Stephie Daniels: What do you think of Henry Cejudo announcing his retirement?
Mo Lawal: Man, I'm so mad. That's my boy. I told him he needed to start competing more. He only competed three times in the last three. The more you compete, the better you get. He didn't listen. He left Ohio, where he was training with my boy, Shawn Bunch, to go back to Arizona, where nobody is training at his size or skill level. I think that what happened with him, is that he wasn't really prepared. He's a young kid, so he'll have to figure out what he wants to do from here on out.
When I retired, I was just like, 'F*ck it' and I moved on. I did the wrestling thing because I loved it, but then it got kind of boring. Now, I kind of miss it, especially when I watch the overseas competitions.
Stephie Daniels: Do you ever think about going back to it at some point?
Mo Lawal: No, but I am thinking about going back to Russia to watch a few tournaments and wrestle with some of the guys there. I want to bring them some gear, shirts and shoes, things like that. I had good times there, and there's some good people there. I'm looking to do that sometime next year.
Stephie Daniels: What are your thoughts on Alistair Overeem and his current troubles?
Mo Lawal: That's where it gets kind of weird to me. Why didn't they wait for the hearing? Did they talk to somebody? Did they get a head's up that he might not get his license? Why didn't they give the commissioner a chance to hear what his excuse was or what his reasoning was? Is it a conspiracy, or is it the UFC just using common sense, because they know how the commission is? You know, they're tough, and King Mo f*cked sh*t up for us [laughs]. I'm leaning towards it being common sense.
Stephie Daniels: How do you feel about the revised HW title bout with Frank Mir fighting Junior Dos Santos?
Mo Lawal: I think it's a good kung fu storyline. Frank Mir defeated his master twice. He beat him one by TKO and once by submission. It's time for Dos Santos to get the big payback.
They should've used payback as the storyline for this promo instead of Rashad and Jones. I mean, what's the revenge with them? They just had beef. There wasn't a revenge plot. This Mir/Dos Santos fight is a true revenge plot. If I was Dos Santos, I'd come out to James Brown's The Big Payback. That's my jam right there. I don't know karate, but I know crazy!
Follow Mo via his Twitter, @KingMoFH
I couldn't resist putting James Brown's video here. Enjoy it.