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Interview: Bellator 145's Bobby Lashley ready for James Thompson ... and Fedor Emelianenko

It has been nearly one year in the making, but come Nov. 6, 2015, Bobby Lashley will finally get his long-awaited chance to avenge a loss to James Thompson. He's even looking to pick a fight on New Year's Eve, too.

Bellator MMA

Bellator 145: "Vengeance" takes place in less than one week (Fri., Nov. 6, 2015) inside Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The five-bout main card set for Spike TV includes two world title fights and three different grudge matches.

One of those big bouts (literally) is Bobby Lashley vs. James Thompson. The two Heavyweight veterans initially clashed under the Super Fight League banner in India. Thompson got the nod over Lashley in a three-round decision, a victory included in his current four-fight win streak.

Bellator MMA has been trying to make this rematch happen for most of 2015, but it crumbled twice because of injuries and withdrawals. Unless somebody trips over a pipe backstage, it's finally going down on Friday night.

And no one is more excited about it than "The Dominator," who is fresh off a win in the same venue at Bellator 138. Indeed, Lashley is eager to prove their last encounter in India was nothing more than a fluke.

Lashley recently spoke with about their upcoming rematch, his return to the friendly confines of Scottrade Center, and perhaps even friendlier confines of Bellator MMA.

"I've had just a great time with Bellator overall, so everything that we've been doing has just been awesome. Scott Coker is just an amazing promoter, manager, owner, whatever his leading title is. To give me this fight and put it together man it's just another feather in my cap so I can erase that loss and move forward on to big things."

Three straight wins in Bellator's Heavyweight division suggests he's on his way, but getting past "The Colossus" in a rematch comes first. Lashley suggests Thompson may have enjoyed biased judging in their last encounter.

"I mean nothing really happened (to me). I broke his orbital bone when I started punching him (and) he didn't do any damage to me. He hit me in the beginning with like three low blows, which didn't count I guess, but then I took him down like three times. At the end of the fight when they raised his hand I said 'Well what were you guys scoring on?' The fact there was English judges, and his manager was the promoter, I guess that's the only thing that gave him the edge."

Hopefully, this time there will be no question about the officiating, although if Thompson tries to "gong and dash" Prida FC style, he's got a plan for that, too.

"If he does he's gonna get punched in the mouth. I think he knows that's his only chance. I'm a hundred times more athletic than him. I have him beat in every aspect of the game, except the fact that he's going to be bigger. He's going to try to weigh on me, he's going to try to put me up against the cage, he's gonna try to lay on me and get me tired. I think that's his whole game plan."

Lashley is also eyeing a title shot at Bellator champ Vitaly Minakov if things go as planned in the rematch.

"You can only win so many fights in the Heavyweight division before they give you that shot. I've had three finishes so, if this one comes then it's the fourth one. There's not too many Heavyweights to duck and dodge except the champ. We don't know what he's doing. As soon as we figure out what he's doing then we can make some bigger decisions."

And if Minakov isn't coming back to defend his title any time soon, Lashley has a suggestion for New Year's Eve.

"If that New Year's Eve card needs a Heavyweight to fight a Heavyweight as a competitor I'm completely open for that one. (Fedor) is a little bit shorter than me, he's a little lighter than me. His striking is amazing of course. He's knocked out a lot of Heavyweights. Then he has that sambo background, he has good submissions, and on paper it looks like he could win the fight. But, paper only counts for paper. I'd like to go out there and see how it happens."

Attention Nobuyuki Sakakibara (Emelianenko's promoter): Lashley just threw down the gauntlet. In the meantime, Lashley hopes that Minakov can work out his situation with Bellator MMA and be available for a title defense.

"You never know what the politics are about, that's why I never speak on it, I don't know what's going on between him and the promotion. I have no idea. I don't know why he's not fighting down here. I know that he took a fight earlier on in the year, and he did it in Russia, I don't know why he would do that. We're all trying to figure it out."

Minakov has actually taken two fights outside Bellator MMA this year -- one in Sochi and one in Kaspiysk -- winning both. At least the Heavyweight champion is acquitting himself well in non-title fights.

Nonetheless, Lashley isn't going to worry about that. He's got his mind set on St. Louis and getting "Vengeance" at Bellator 145 against Thompson.

"I know that he's here in the States, he came back here a little while back. I know he's training hard, hopefully he doesn't get hurt. My training camp's been great, I've been working with some great people, and I'm just ready. Just ready."

Complete audio of our interview is below and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.


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