It's been a rough couple of years for mixed martial arts (MMA) light heavyweight fighter Muhammed Lawal. After a meteoric rise to fame, the former NCAA Division I wrestler lost his championship belt to Rafael Cavalcante at Strikeforce: "Houston" in Houston, Texas, on Aug. 21, 2010.
After working his way back to the top and winning two fights in a row (though the second of the two was later overturned and deemed to be a "no contest"), "King Mo" suffered another series of setbacks when he tore his ACL, developed a very serious staph infection, failed a drug test, was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and then fired by his bosses at Strikeforce.
To say the least, 2012 was a tough year for Lawal.
However, he believes things are starting to turn around for him, namely because of his recent signing with Bellator Fighting Championships (where he will make his debut in early 2013), as well as his new contract to be a professional wrestler for Total Nonstop Action (TNA).
"King Mo" appeared recently on AXS TV's "Inside MMA," speaking about the obstacles he's had to overcome, as well as his perspective on the future in front of him:
"Last year was pretty damn tough -- the staph infection, the drug test, the surgeries. It was just pretty bad. But, now, it's looking good."
Soon, Lawal will make his TNA debut. It's an opportunity for the brash fighter to show off a new and invigorated entrance, and the drama is certain to be encouraged by his new bosses.
Lawal didn't want to give too much away, but he assured fans that they can still expect to see his signature trademarks:
"I'm gonna keep it under wraps for right now. But, I'm gonna say this. There's a throne. There's gonna be a little throne action. I'm gonna leave it at that. Of course there'll be a crown. There's always a crown -- custom made."
Lawal will make his first appearance in the Bellator cage in January, when the light heavyweight tournament begins. He has no idea who will be his first opponent, but his message is clear: If you want some, come and get it!
"It's gonna be in January. I'm not sure the date, but I know it's gonna happen in January on Spike TV. I'm in a tournament, so whoever wants it can get it. If they wanna fight me bad enough, ask Bjorn [Rebney] if they can get me in the first round. I'll knock you out."
Looking forward, Lawal stated that he feels he can't overlook anyone in the organization. He knows he's going to be under the magnifying glass, and that he will be harshly criticized for any setbacks he experiences:
"As far as my toughest opponent in Bellator is concerned, I feel like it's myself -- 'cuz I need to be right and healthy, and everybody else in the field, because you never know what's gonna happen. If I lose in Bellator, everybody's just gonna say I'm a bum. If somebody beats me, they're probably just that good. You never know. A fight's a fight. Anything can happen."
What say you, Maniacs? Do you think "King Mo" has a chance to win the 2013 Bellator light heavyweight tournament? Who would you like to see him matched up against in his round one bout?