(Bellator light heavyweight Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal looks to win an interim title Saturday)
“He’s just so corny. I mean, tell me the truth – isn’t he corny?” Bellator light heavyweight Muhammed Lawal is talking about his November 2 opponent Emanuel Newton with Cagewriter.
The two used to be training partners and, heading into their bout earlier this year, didn’t exchange much in the way of trash talk. After Newton knocked Lawal out with a surprise spinning back fist and then suggested that “King Mo” was cocky and got what he deserved, all that changed though.
Lawal is fond of saying that he is a prizefighter and fights for money, plain and simple. It is now clear, however, that Newton vs. Lawal II is now a grudge match.
“Honestly, who do you like interviewing more, him or me?”
We’ve spoken with both fighters and certainly don’t have a personal preference but it can’t be argued that few personalities in the world of MMA are more as colorful as Lawal.
“I’m real,” he says.
“I can’t be any other way. I don’t know why Newton is saying the stuff he is about me being cocky. I made a point not to talk about him because he trains with Antonio McKee who I respect. I went in there to fight, we fought and he won. But then he says that I got what I deserved because I’m cocky. Whatever.”
When a fighter comes to the ring wearing a robe, a cape and holding a scepter as Lawal has, it isn’t a far stretch to think of them as arrogant or cocky. “King Mo” won’t apologize for putting on a show but he works as hard as anyone in the game, and says he respects all his opponents.
“People want to say that I had my hands down when I fought Newton and that’s why I got caught,” he scoffs.
“Look at the entire fight. I had my hands up. I know what mistake I made in that fight and it had nothing to do with cockiness. I was loading up on my punches. That was my mistake. I had my hands up and then I lowered them as I loaded up to punch. It’s a mistake I was working on and that I’ve continued to work on.”
The former international wrestler Lawal says he’s fed up with the talk but insists he’s still about his business. “It is still professional. I’ve trained and am going in there as a pro. He can say what he wants but I work hard and prepare well,” Mo says.
If Lawal can get revenge he’ll also get his hands on some Bellator gold – the interim light heavyweight belt. To be precise At the end of the day, the gold and what it can provide for he and his family is still what motivates this self-styled “king.”
“It’s hard to say what my motivation is. Becoming a great fighter, taking care of my family, my loved ones,” Lawal explains.
“That’s what it always has been so I guess that’s what it is still all about. That’s what gets me up in the morning and gets me into the cage.”
Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda