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King Mo speaks: an interview with Sengoku fighter Mo Lawal

Cagewriter

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Less than a year ago, Muhammed Lawal was training to wrestle in the Olympics. Now, just one year later, he is King Mo, an up-and-coming fighter who was won three fights in Japan at Sengoku, all by stoppage. He took some time out from his busy training schedule to talk with Cage Writer.

How have you been preparing for your fight against Ryo Kawamura?
I've been working out with everybody. Mark Munoz, Benji Radach, Dean Lister, Jason Miller, Alberto Crane, Melchor Menor; I've been training with a lots of different people, I like the variety because it keeps you fresh, keeps you thinking.

You've wrestled at 184 lbs. and 211 lbs. What weight are you most comfortable at in MMA?
I like fighting bigger people, fighting 205, I've yet to fight at 185, because I just answered when they needed me to fight on short notice. I'm just working my way up to the top.

What do you like about fighting in Japan?
I like the culture. The fans are so knowledgeable. I fought there at first because they called me on short notice, and now it's the place where I'm most comfortable.

With wrestling, you've been popular in places from Oklahoma to Iran. Where does Japan fall in that?

Not as popular as I was in Iran. People know me, but nothing like Iran, where everywhere I went, I was mobbed.

How did the King Mo persona come about?
Kami Barzini, someone I knew from Oklahoma State, called me that, and said once you jump into the MMA game, that's what you've gotta be. King Mo. And I like it because I'm not a pimp, I'm not a gangsta. It doesn't limit me because there are kings from all races.

And who provides you with all the trappings of your kingdom?
When I got there, I wanted to be different. I wanted umbrella girls, i wanted girls throwing rose petals at my feet, everything, and Sengoku set me up with it.

With wrestling, you've been popular in places from Oklahoma to Iran. Where does Japan fall in that?

Not as popular as I was in Iran. People know me, but nothing like in Iran. Everywhere I went in Iran, I was mobbed.

You came within one match of going to the Olympics as a freestyle wrestler. Any plans to go back?

I'm probably wrestling at this year's World Championships team trials. I was going to do national championships but it's too close after my fight. Wrestling is more of a hobby.

You love to break down fight film. What are you looking at when you watch a fight?
I'm looking at their fighting style, mannerisms, timing. If you have their timing down, you can beat them. That's why people have such a hard time with Machida, because they can't figure out his timing. I'm looking at their styles because styles make fights. I'm also looking for their speed and any tricks they have.

Catch King Mo at Sengoku on HDNet, 3 a.m. ET.

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