Bobby Lashley is a hard guy to figure out. Ever since his exit from the WWE and subsequent foray into the world of mixed martial arts, Lashley has jumped back and forth from MMA to wrestling. I’m going to try and get my head wrapped around it in a convenient timeline:
January 2008: Announces he will leave the WWE, and will make the jump to MMA.
December 2008: Makes MMA debut, fights exclusively in MMA until March.
April 19, 2009: Signs with TNA Wrestling.
December 11, 2010: Signs with Strikeforce.
January 30, 2010: Defeats Wes Sims in Strikeforce debut.
February 10, 2010: Profile removed from TNA site. Leaves the promotion to focus on fighting.
Bobby’s Strikeforce debut was supposed to be against upcoming star Shane Del Rosario, but the fight was either scrapped or a rumor. Then Yohan Banks was scheduled to be the first victim, but the Florida Athletic Commission scrapped that. Next up, it was Jimmy Ambriz being talked about, but that was also shot down. Finally Wes Sims came in and served his purposed: To be demolished.
Now, at 5-0 it would be good time to put Lashley against a guy like Del Rosario or even a fighter like Brett Rogers. A true test of his skills, right? According to Lashley himself: Not at all.
On a recent episode of Inside MMA, a poll was created by MMAJunkie to gauge the fan’s interest on who should Lashley fight next. Here was his response when Rogers won the poll:
“I don’t understand this,” Lashley said. “Brett Rogers isn’t the champ. You’ve got Fedor [Emelianenko] who is considered the best pound-for-pound fighter and you’ve got [Alistair] Overeem who’s the champ. If they want me to go up to that level let’s go all the way up to that level and fight the champ.”
“I want Overeem,” Lashley said. “Either let me fight the way I want to build up – get a few fights under my belt, work my way up – or let me fight the champ. If it’s fighting the champ, I’ll fight the champ.”
This response needs translation. Translation: “Give me more cans to fight, or put me against Fedor or Overeem.”
Now, I’m sure that a fight against an experienced fighter is something that Lashley is hopefully considering in the near future, but to go from fighting the Bob Sapp’s and the Wes Sims’ of MMA to a fight with Fedor or Overeem? Lashley is saying that he has no interest in fights against guys like Rogers, Andrei Arlovski, Del Rosario, and Antonio Silva. So those fighters who have to pick up two or more victories to be even be considered for a title shot aren’t worthy of facing Lashley, but a guy like Tank Abbott or Jimmy Abriz is.
We all know what the likely outcome of Lashley facing either Fedor or Overeem would probably be, but if Lashley loses, it’s not that big of a deal. Strikeforce can play it off as Lashley not being ready, and that some day he could be at their level. If he loses to a guy like Rogers, and then loses again, it’ll be hard to build Lashley as a top contender and a guy who people would buy tickets to see.
Lashley has beaten most of his opponents with ease (with the exception of Jason Guida) and at 5-0, it’s time to at least take a small step up in competition. It doesn’t have to be Lesnar-sized steps, but still it would be good if he wants to be taken seriously as a fighter.
So, how about this for an opponent: Tim Sylvia. A well known name, downside of his career, and is enough of a challenge so if Lashley wins, he can get some credibility. It’s not a big step, but possibly a step in the right direction.