A little less than six months ago, Bellator light heavyweight Muhammed Lawal was featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Night. However, as fans undoubtedly remember, Lawal was on the wrong end of a highlight after getting dropped with a spinning backfist by Emanuel Newton (27-7-1).
Though still stamped in the collective conscience of the MMA world, it sounds like the loss will be the furthest thing from Lawal’s mind when he walks down to the cage on Wednesday evening at Bellator 97 in hopes of earning a title-shot with a win over Jacob Noe. According to “King Mo”, he isn’t haunted by any defeat let alone one that came in such a freakish fashion.
“With my amateur wrestling background, a loss is a loss. It’s not like MMA is a greater sport than wrestling. My losses in wrestling hurt me a lot more than my losses in MMA,” said Lawal in an interview with MMAWeekly.”My MMA losses are, like, whatever. But my wrestling losses hurt more. The loss is a loss, it ain’t going to kill me.”
“See, if he were to dominate me from cage post to cage post – listen, let’s keep it real. When he landed, he landed like, ‘Oh! What just happened? Oh I landed?!’ He was trying to act like he meant to do it,” he continued. “Come on, man, let’s be real. When I land a punch, I know it’s over. I’m looking where I’m throwing. I don’t throw it to hope it lands, or this or that; I’m throwing it to land and for it to land solid. I’m watching everything I throw. He had that spinning backfist and he got lucky with it. When we fight again, it will be a different story, trust me. I know it will.”
The 10-2 Lawal quickly corrected himself, making it more of an “if” than a “when” regarding a rematch with Newton.
“Really it’s about the belt. If I have to fight Emmanuel to get the belt, then that’s a bonus. My goal is to get the belt and if I get fight Emmanuel while doing it, that’s great,” he stated. “If he keeps winning and I keep winning, then we will fight. That’s how Bellator works; winners fight winners. So as long as we keep winning, we will fight each other.”
Fans can catch Lawal’s attempt at top contendership when action unfolds tomorrow night on Spike TV starting at 7:00 PM EST.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports