One of the flashiest and most dynamic fighters in all of mixed martial arts, Muhammed Lawal exploded onto the MMA scene with a debut victory in September of 2008. Following the win, he went on to win five more fights, four of which he finished by knockout. Now, just six fights into his young career, “King Mo” has been presented with the biggest opportunity of his career, as he is set to face Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi.
But Lawal is not concerned with the immense experience of his opponent, or the little experience he has in mixed martial arts.
“I’m a competitor,” states Lawal. “The thing about experience doesn’t matter. Experience? You make experience by winning.”
Although the challenge is certainly a tall order for the inexperienced Lawal, not surprisingly, he is as confident as ever. And with that confidence, Lawal does what he does best, hype a fight.
However, over his short career, “King Mo’s” pre-fight talk and post-fight celebrations have brought an unfortunate light on the ever-improving fighter. While some may find it to be an act of poor sportsmanship or cockiness, Lawal say it is merely him having a good time.
“That’s my personality. I’m just having fun,” explains Lawal. “People look too deep into the whole thing. Mousasi is having fun doing what he’s doing and I’m having fun doing what I’m doing. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, he’s cool, he’s a great champ. Why can’t I just have fun up until the fight? I’m having fun training, I’m having fun talking, I have fun fighting. It’s all for fun. People make a big deal about this, but it’s a sport and it’s fun for me. Why can’t we just have fun and do what we want to do and prove ourselves in the cage?”
Over his six-fight career, Lawal has not only talked up a big game, but backed it up in the cage. While he is yet to face anyone remotely close to Mousasi’s level, five knockout victories have displayed the extreme power Lawal brings to the cage. However, “King Mo’s” heavy hands hardly account for his success in mixed martial arts the way his wrestling background has.
Over the past decade, Lawal has assembled quite an impressive wrestling resume. In 2002, he gained the championship in NCAA Division II wrestling and, two years later, he won the NCAA Division I Big 12 Championship. For the next five year, “King Mo” dominated the wrestling scene, taking first place in the 2005 U.S. World Team Trials, the 2005 and 2006 U.S. Senior National Championships, and the 2007 Golden Grand Prix International.
With such a wrestling pedigree, along with his dynamic athleticism, Lawal easily made a successful transition into mixed martial arts. However, he also understands the difference between this sport and wrestling, and, when it comes to his upcoming fight, he is not worried about the wrestling aspect.
“This ain’t wrestling, this is MMA,” states Lawal. “I’m not worried about wrestling at all. I’m coming to fight. He can fight on his back, I can fight on my back. He can fight you on top, I can fight you on top. He can fight better standing? I can bang when I’m standing. So it’s going to be a great fight, man. This fight can go anywhere, so I’m not worried about the wrestling stuff.”
Whether or not “King Mo” truly is unconcerned about the wrestling aspect of this sport, come April 17, he has a whole new set of tricks he is ready to unveil. Something he calls the “Cuban Style”, which, he says, is a style to watch out for and something the fans are going to enjoy.
“I know that I’m going to win. I got this thing out there called a Cuban Style. You can ask anybody in my training camp about it. The Cuban Style’s going to win. You know what I’m saying. You’ll see the Cuban Style come fight time. It’s a new thing I just put together, it’s pretty damn raw. If you watch the Cubans in boxing and wrestling and judo, they have a certain style of fight that I’m going to implement in this fight.”
“King Mo’s” newest style may be derived from Cuban fighters, but his strong desire and will to win comes from deep inside. He loves the fight game and has been driven by his endless will to gain victory no matter what the odds.
However, something else that drives him are all those who would question him as a mixed martial artist. Lawal feels that he is yet to be recognized in this sport and, against Gegard Mousasi later this month, he is ready to introduce himself to the world of mixed martial arts as a champion and a legitimate fighter.
“I haven’t shown too much in my fights because there isn’t much to watch. I’ve pretty much gone in there and just beat people off of just pure will to win. I think either people don’t like me or they like Mousasi more, or they don’t know me. So, they’re going to know me on April 17.”