Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal had no fear of Roger Gracie on the feet. | File Photo: Sherdog.com
Muhammed Lawal bounced back from the first loss of his career by knocking out Roger Gracie on Sept. 10 at Strikeforce “Barnett vs. Kharitonov.”
After the bout he joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss his performance, whether he’d consider a move to the UFC, professional wrestling and more.
On his strategy against Roger Gracie: “I went out there patient. I knew he couldn’t hurt me. I was like, ‘He doesn’t have no power. You know what? I’m going to make this a brawl.’ I tried to go out there and just swing on him.”
On what he thought when he dropped Gracie: “When I saw him fall, I was like, ‘Man, this dude’s done.’ I was like, ‘I’m going to knock his ass out even more.’ I stepped to my left, with my left hand grabbed his right foot, looked to pass, but the thing is, I didn’t want to step close to him. I kind of jumped and threw a punch so wherever I landed, I’d be away from him.”
On the injury he suffered to his eye after getting kneed: “I know it’s a scratched cornea. I watched the fight again and I couldn’t even tell when the knee landed, but I know when it landed, my eye was black. I couldn’t see out of my left eye. I was like, ‘Damn, my eye’s swelling shut. Oh well, I’m going to knock him out.’”
On whether all the breaking UFC news fight week took away from Strikeforce’s show: “There was like four or five storylines that came the week of the fight. It’s a slap in the face for the guys in the heavyweight tournament, a slap in the face to Luke Rockhold and ‘Jacare.’ Me, I don’t care because I wasn’t headlining nothing. I was on the card, but everybody else that got the push for this card, it was a slap in the face towards them.”
On the role marketing plays in how fans perceive UFC fighters: “I’m not saying they’re overhyped in the UFC. I think that the brand is so strong that people don’t know any better. There could be a guy out there in Kazakhstan that could smash everybody, that we don’t know about, but he hasn’t had the marketing machine behind him. I’ve had people hit me up and say, ‘Mo, quit being a whiny b---h. All you’ve got to do is work hard like the rest of the guys to get to the A-Team.’ I’m like, ‘What the hell’s the A-Team?’ They’re like, ‘The UFC because you’re in the B-League.’ … Marketing is what helps a lot of people. If you have the right marketing and you’re doing the right things, you’re winning and your face is out there, you’ll always feel a little bit better than what you really are.”
On whether he’d like to move to the UFC now or later: “I’d pick whichever one pays the bigger check. Because what it comes down to is, it’s about money. I’ve seen a lot of champions that left sports broke as hell. I’m not trying to be one of them. You can be a great fighter, but if you leave the sport broke, you’re still a joke. I’d rather be a rich joke than a broke serious fighter or a broke legend. Seriously.”
On whether he’d leave MMA and join the WWE if the pay was better there: “Hell yeah I would, man. Hell yeah I’d go to pro wrestling. Hell yeah.”
On whether fatigue was a factor when he lost to Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante: “I was not tired against Feijao. When you saw the postfight interview, he was still catching his breath. I wasn’t. I was good. I was like whatever, but the thing is, I had [cadaver tissue] put in my knee. I came back too soon, fought with Mark Kerr, and I think my body rejected the cadaver. If you watch the Mark Kerr fight, when I picked him up, my knee gave out. Pretty much when I fought Mark Kerr, Mike Whitehead, [Gegard] Mousasi and Feijao, I had no ACL. My body rejected it.”
On how teammate Daniel Cormier matches up against Josh Barnett in the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix final: “I can see how people would lean toward Barnett, but I think Daniel has a chance to win. I think Daniel can win this fight. Barnett’s tough. The thing is, Daniel has control where the fight goes. If he does [take the fight to the ground], he has to be wary of the leg locks. If he can control him on his back, then he’ll win the fight and I think he can do that.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 43:54).