“I want to be a Hall of Famer for TNA,” Lawal told scifighting.com.
Lawal will enter the cage to fight Emanuel Newton Nov. 2, in a rematch from their February encounter. Even though Lawal was in control of the fight Newton surprised Lawal with a spinning backfist and knocked Lawal out. Lawal, however, is looking forward to returning to his wrestling training next week once the fight is over.
He is the first athlete to be signed simultaneously under a professional wrestling and mixed martial arts contract in America. Long after his MMA career is over, King Mo said he still wants to be a wrestler.
“Pro wrestling is harder than MMA,” Lawal said.
Although MMA fights are legitimate contests, pro wrestlers endure daily bumps on the mat, slams into turnbuckles and falls onto the concrete floor. Pro wrestling training never stops and the athletes have to trust each other by putting their bodies into the hands of their fellow wrestlers. And even though the outcomes in pro wrestling are predetermined, the action inside the ring is often rough, tough and painful.
Lawal, however, loves the business. He grew up watching the old NWA, WCW and Mid-South Championship wrestling. He always appreciated the serious workers like a Ric Flair, over an over-the-top showman like The Ultimate Warrior.
Lawal’s favorite professional wrestler is Arn Anderson, a longtime member of the NWA’s Four Horsemen. The balding, left-handed “enforcer” was never the most popular wrestler in a territory, but he was always well-respected by his peers for his ability to make a match look real, while entertaining the crowd.
“He made things happen,” Lawal said. “He was a great tactician.”
King Mo clearly has spent a lot of time watching wrestling. He can recite Anderson’s main moves, the DDT and the spinebuster, and recalls that his nickname was “The Enforcer.”
Lawal also idolizes wrestlers such as Booker T, Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, CM Punk and Jack Swagger, whom he knew in college in Oklahoma.
Lawal said he wants to become a great technical wrestler like Anderson, and be remembered for being a great worker.
Bellator allows Lawal to also wrestle in TNA. Lawal hasn’t yet had a televised match for the company, but does train in Ohio Valley Wrestling, a developmental organization for TNA. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson followed King Mo as a multi-sport athlete. The two might one day fight inside a wrestling ring.
Lawal said he watches the more popular WWE, where guys like John Cena, Triple H and Randy Orton are big stars, but he’s happy wrestling for TNA.
“The matches in TNA are better,” Lawal said.
Read Part I of this exclusive interview with former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal by clicking here.