Image courtesy of Esther Lin
It's been a little while since I've interviewed Muhammed Lawal, so I figured it was high time to see where he was with his training for pro wrestling and MMA. I ended up with a solid, albeit brief, interview, and we talked about a variety of topics. As always, the outspoken Lawal didn't mince any words or hold back on his opinion.
Stephie Daniels: Have you started your professional wrestling camp yet?
Mo Lawal: No, not yet. I go to OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling) next month for a few weeks, and after that, I'll make my pro debut on TNA.
Stephie Daniels: When is your expected debut?
Mo Lawal: I can't release the exact date, but I'll tell you this, it's in October, on SPIKE TV.
Stephie Daniels: How excited are you for this new leg of your career?
Mo Lawal: Hell yeah, I'm excited. I don't have to deal with that MMA groupie sh*t no more. I like my fans, and I like people that are respectful, but I'm tired of some of the groupie sh*t. I just have to go out there, make my pro wrestling debut, and enter that Bellator tournament.
Stephie Daniels: How do you plan to balance your pro wrestling appearances with the Bellator tournament?
Mo Lawal: The tournament comes first with me. It's more important. I love pro wrestling, and I'm looking forward to that, but right now, MMA comes first.
Stephie Daniels: Who are some names in the pro wrestling world that have influenced you, or that you look up to?
Mo Lawal: That's like a bigass group of people. I'm old school, though, so I like guys like Arn Anderson, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, Booker T, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, The Von Erichs. It's a lot of people. I can sit here and give you names all day if you want me to [laughs].
Stephie Daniels: Roy Nelson wanted to bring you on as part of the coaching staff for this season's TUF, but was denied by ZUFFA. What was the reasoning behind this and what are your thoughts on it?
Mo Lawal: I really don't know. When Roy hit me up, I didn't want to do it, but if it's for Roy, of course I'm going to help him. It didn't bother me, though. I don't give a f*ck about that show. F*ck TUF. Other than the people I know likeShane Carwin, Roy Nelson, Rashad Evans...f*ck them. I don't give a damn about TUF. I don't even watch that sh*t.
Stephie Daniels: It would've been cool to be able to see you on the show.
Mo Lawal: If I had been there, I wouldn't have been seen. I would have been behind the scenes or in the background. I'm not trying to be seen. I'm with Bellator and SPIKE TV, so I'm not trying to be seen or be visible somewhere else. I'm not trying to help motherf*cking Zuffa. I ain't with them. I represent who I'm with, and if I ain't with you, I'm not representing you.
Stephie Daniels: You mentioned that you would have done it because of your friendship with Roy. Was Bellator ok with that?
Mo Lawal: The thing is, I was just going to tell Roy that I didn't want to be seen on camera. I would have helped him out, this and that, but I'm not trying to be seen on camera. TUF is whatever. I don't really care much for it. Because it was Roy, I was willing to take one for the team. I'm glad it didn't work out, because now, I don't have to deal with it. Roy has good staff now. He has good people helping him out.
Stephie Daniels: Where do you see Strikeforce heading over the next year?
Mo Lawal: I really don't know. As soon as we parted ways, I quit caring about them. I just care about the people that I know that are still fighting for them. I like Scott Coker, and I like Terry, but the rest of them, I couldn't give a damn about. For the fighters I know, cool, do your thing. The rest of the motherf*ckers I don't know, can kiss my ass. I do like Espinoza though. He's cool. The rest of them, I don't really know them, so it don't really matter to me.
Stephie Daniels: What did you think about Ronda Rousey's win?
Mo Lawal: Dominant. I think she's great for the sport. People in women's MMA need to be more like her. She's talented and she speaks her mind. She's doing what she's saying she's gonna do. I like it. She's 6-0 with six wins by armbar. Obviously, the athletes in women's MMA aren't following along. They aren't taking notes. They're all about that, 'Oh, I want to be humble and honest' thing. Nobody gives a f*ck about that anymore. Just say what you're gonna do. Talk about how you feel. That's what Ronda does. I don't understand why people got mad that she did what she said she was gonna do.
Stephie Daniels: What did you think of Julie Kedzie's performance?
Mo Lawal: Julie put it down. Hell yeah. That's my homegirl right there. She held it down for Invicta. That was a tough loss, but you know what? She showed that she's right there. I think she might have a Chael Sonnen type career, because Chael had some hard losses earlier in his career, but he's so much better now. He bounces back and is confident. To me, this really wasn't a loss for Julie. It was more of a win. Once she corrects a few mistakes, she'll be right there at the top. She's well rounded. She's great. I was very impressed with her.
Stephie Daniels: When you were with Strikeforce, they subdued you a little bit in that they didn't like to show your entrances or let you be too flashy. Is Bellator going to allow you to spread your wings, so to speak?
Mo Lawal: Yeah, absolutely. There ain't no gag order on King Mo, so I can do what I want to do, say what I want to say. It's not like I'm gonna go out there and just disrespect everybody. I just keep it real. Bjorn is my boy.
Stephie Daniels: When do you go back for re-licensure?
Mo Lawal: Next month, I think it's September 9th. I'm gonna go in there, take the piss test, pass it and do whatever I need to do to get my license.
Stephie Daniels: You tweeted a few days ago that you felt that Chael Sonnen could be a legit contender for the light heavyweight belt. What is your reasoning behind that?
Mo Lawal: I think that's a good weight class for Chael. He can focus on getting stronger and not cutting weight. He's athletic, so all he has to do is get with the right people and execute the gampeplan, that's all.
Stephie Daniels: You mentioned your wrestling debut would be sometime in October. When will you be making your Bellator debut?
Mo Lawal: I'm getting in that LHW tournament at the beginning of the year, January 14th on SPIKE TV.
Stephie Daniels: Do you see yourself staying at 205, or will you maybe cross over into the heavyweight division again, at some point?
Mo Lawal: I don't know. I have to win this light heavyweight tournament first. I want to dominate that, then maybe I can get a superfight with the Polar Bear. Id like to turn him into a brown bear, full of bruises if I can get my hands on him [laughs]. I like Cole Konrad, though. He's a hell of a competitor. I think people underestimate him because of how he looks. He's a cool dude.
Stephie Daniels: When will we see some footage of you in the Fight Factory reality series?
Mo Lawal: I'm not going to be on Fight Factory. If I'm going to be on anything, my goal is to be on Love & Hiphop or Bad Girls Club. I want to do something cool [laughs]. Maybe I could do Big Brother. Fight Factory is a good show, though. It mainly focuses on people that are at the gym in training. I'm mainly at the gym watching. I can hit mitts, but I can't really train like the rest of them are just yet.
Stephie Daniels: What do you think of the match-up with your teammate, Daniel Cormier and Frank Mir?
Mo Lawal: The haters can say what they want, but I'll put myself out there and say this: Daniel will be Frank Mir'slast fight.
Stephie Daniels: So you're predicting that Daniel will retire Frank?
Mo Lawal: Me and Daniel used to place bets on who could retire more people [laughs]. Right now, I'm up one, because I believe I retired Mark Kerr. Daniel will tie it up after this fight with Frank Mir.
You can follow Mo via his Twitter, @KingMoFH