CINCINNATI -- Muhammed Lawal fights Roger Gracie this weekend, and he’s not sure where a victory puts him in the title picture. In fact, with current 205-pound champion Dan Henderson all but certain to sign with the UFC, he’s having one of those “Matrix” moments that goes like this: The truth is, there is no picture.
“Nobody knows man, we’re all confused,” he told ESPN.com after the prefight newser. “Nobody knows.”
Lawal was fairly candid about the uncertainty of Strikeforce and where things are headed. Yet, he pointed out to the media on hand that there should be more media on hand, and made it known that all the things going on outside -- namely, UFC 137’s game of musical match-ups -- were overshadowing a pretty explosive card. He would like people to take note of it, but since it’s out of his hands he’ll roll with the punches. One of his favorite refrains is a shrugging one: “I don’t care.”
“That’s what I do man -- you can tell, it’s different,” he said. “The big issues are other things, like Brock [Lesnar] fighting [Alistair] Overeem, and then Nick Diaz getting pulled out of his fight with Georges St. Pierre. For me? It’s like whatever. But to Daniel [Cormier], Bigfoot [Antonio Silva], Jacare [Ronaldo Souza], Luke Rockhold, and Josh Barnett, it matters. You have the title on the line and the semifinals of the tournament and nobody cares.”
King Mo has always been one to speak his mind, and he does it well. He says the simplest way for him to proceed at this point is to keep things light-heartedly mercenary -- “it’s a business, it’s all about money” -- and win his fights. After 14 months away from the cage, he’s anxious to get back in there against the jiu-jitsu ace Gracie and get paid again. He was cleared to fight and ready to go all the way back in January, so the last nine months have come off the calendar very slowly.
“I think it’s a good match-up, grappler versus wrestler,” he said. “But it’s going to be more than that, it’s going to be a little bit of everything. We’ll see. I think he wants to go to the ground. I don’t care, I’m prepared for all positions. Now nine months [after being cleared], I get my shot.”
And after that shot, who knows. Lawal has made no secret about desire to fight in the UFC. There are a lot of match-ups for him there, whereas in Strikeforce, currently, the cupboards a little bare. A win over Gracie would resolidify him as a top ten light heavyweight, and more importantly remind everyone that he’s out there. Not that, you know, he cares to remind “everyone” of anything.
“A lot of people in MMA don’t know s---,” he said. “Most MMA fans that I’ve ran into aren’t fans of the other sports. They watch MMA, but they don’t watch any boxing, kick-boxing, none of that other than basketball and football. They don’t really know what really good athletes are. They can’t relate to anything because they never competed at a high level. They just watch.”
Circling back around, that’s exactly what he wants you to do this weekend. It’s a King Mo paradox, and it’s best to roll with the punches.