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Bobby Lashley: “If I want to take somebody down, they’re going down.”

It’s rare a Mixed Martial Artist with only a handful of fights under his belt elicits the type of attention Strikeforce heavyweight Bobby Lashley has thus far in his career. Then again, it’s equally unique to find an athlete with his physical dimensions, accomplishments as an amateur wrestler, and crossover potential as a former WWE Superstar. However, regardless of his pre-MMA fame or the success he’s experienced thus far in the cage, Lashley has remained relatively grounded while showing the genuine appreciation for his place in the sport his displayed when first giving it a go.

The 5-0 fighter, who has been out of action since a first-round TKO of Wes Sims last January, is set to face Chad Griggs on August 21st at Strikeforce’s upcoming event in Houston, Texas. Lashley recently spoke to media during a conference call about where he feels he’s at in his progression as a fighter, his recent experience training with American Kickboxing Academy, and why he thinks he’ll be challenging for the Strikeforce heavyweight title in early 2011.

When asked to comment on Griggs, who has finished all eight opponents he’s claimed victory against, Lashley made it clear he respected “The Grave Digger” as an adversary and looked forward to the challenge he provided.

“I think (Griggs) might be underestimated. He’s got an 8-1 record and he’s got a lot of knockouts to his credit. I’m coming in at 5-0 so I think he’s right in line as an opponent for me. I don’t think anyone is thinking I should be fighting Fedor who has 30 wins under his belt. (The media) are going to say what they are going to say but I think this is a good test for me. I think he’s a great fighter and he’s got a great record. Before I didn’t know what my level was, but just training with Cain (Velasquez) and (Daniel) Cormier has shown me I can compete at that level. If this fight goes the way I hope it shows I’m going all the way to the top. I know what my abilities are.”

Lashley also elaborated on how training with AKA had helped prepare him for Griggs, saying “I feel better than I’ve ever felt coming into a fight. This is just another one of those tests. I’m coming in bigger, better and faster than I ever have. So I’m pretty confident coming into this fight.”

However, a strong sense of self-belief is nothing new to the 6’3”, 265-pound heavyweight and rightfully so based on his achievements as NAIA/US Army wrestler, cinder-block fists, and – according to Lashley himself – an underrated, untapped set of striking skills.

“I’ve had a good amount of confidence going into each of my fights. I have twenty years of wrestling experience and three national championships and I came in second at the world championships. So I know people are thinking they have to avoid the take down with me. With this fight I know I have my wrestling ability but there are other things I would like to work on. One thing my coach at the Olympic Training Center used to say was, ‘You could lie to the media, you could lie to everyone else, but once you get back to your hotel the night before your fight you can’t lie to yourself.’ At this point I can look at myself and say I’m 100 percent ready for this fight.”

“I think my striking is better than people think. Just because I haven’t used it doesn’t mean I don’t have it. I feel comfortable with my striking. If we have to stay standing we can stand. I don’t think anyone can stop the take down. If I want to take somebody down, they’re going down.”

And, though a win could merit a title-shot in the eyes of some based simply on his undefeated status and mainstream connections, Lashley doesn’t appear to be in a rush for a crack at promotional gold, preferring to instead earn the opportunity with victories over a few more opponents.

When asked about his expectations for championship contendership, Lashley replied, “Hopefully at the first part of next year. I don’t know when my next fight will be. That’s up to (Strikeforce executive) Scott Coker to decide. I’m not going to take any time off. I like to train and I want to stay conditioned. After this fight I just hope to keep training and get that title shot next year.”

On top of Lashley’s attempt at prolonging his undefeated streak, “Strikeforce – Houston” also features a pair of title fights, as ”King Mo” Lawal will defend his light heavyweight strap against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Tim Kennedy will battle submission-specialist Renaldo “Jacare” Souza for the promotion’s vacant middleweight belt. Lightweight contender KJ Noons will also see action on the card, facing 13-6 BJJ blackbelt Jorge Gurgel.

13 COMMENTS
  • MCM says:

    OK Bobby, either you’re a fighter or you’re an attraction which is it? You’re 5-0 against mediocre opponents with mediocre name recognition in the sport and now you’re trying to talk up a guy that’s 8-1 against Cans as a worthy opponent for you! Griggs last 3 opponents had a combined record of 9-15, Lashley’s last 3 have a record of 43-26-2 and each of them have winning records.
    I hear you saying title fight in 2011, but it’s all just talk. Either step up or get out. If you want to be taken seriously as a fighter, try your hand at Arlovski, Monson, Del Rosario, Rizzo, Pee-Wee Herman, almost anyone but the cans you’re trying to tout as real challenges.
    I thought Sims was actually a good test for you and that now you’d be fighting bigger names/fights, I should have known you’d revert back to your pre-Guida days. I’m sure you can take anyone down, I just didn’t think you’d start with your own MMA career.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    If Lashly wins handily here htere is no reason not to put hin in there with anybody SF has. At 6-0 the guy needs a challenge and has proven to be more than capable of beating mid tier guys . I would really like to see Bobby in there with a guy like Monson.

  • Rece Rock says:

    “When asked about his expectations for championship contendership, Lashley replied, “Hopefully at the first part of next year…”

    Really Bobby? Do you own a calender? So basically you expect a #1 contender bout if you beat Griggs? Hmm Interesting… It’s more likely that he fights Dave Bautista come the new year, and that should help really legitimize his mma career?!?!…

  • Swing Em says:

    MCM, i would love to see you say everything you just typed to Bob’s face. However due to the fact that he’s a PROFESSIONAL FIGHTER i’d be willing to bet you wouldn’t say shit, except, “Excuse me sir, can you sign my shirt?” I get your point that he’s only fought “curtain jerkers” but the simple fact of the matter is that, IT’S A FIGHT! Anything can happen, so if you don’t respect the fact that the other guy is there to do his job too (which is to kick your ass) then you might as well not show up. Bob Lashley has all the physical tools to be a great MMA heavyweight & i honestly believe he’s on his way to doing just that. You can’t start your career fighting the Champ, but don’t worry I have a feeling that in the next year or two Lashley will be fighting your Rogers, Arlovski’s & Overeeem’s. Personally i’d love to see him finish out his SF contract & sign with the UFC. Lesnar vs Lashley!?!?! McMahon would flip his lid.

  • MCM says:

    I would say all that to his face, because I agree with you.
    “Bob Lashley has all the physical tools to be a great MMA heavyweight…”.
    That’s what pisses me off. He won’t go out there and prove that he has what it takes to be one of the best.
    I didn’t expect him to jump right in and fight Fedor, and when he said he wanted to work his way up and not go the Lesnar route, I agreed with him. But he’s passed the “feet wet” stage and he needs to move up. He shouldn’t have to wait are year or two to fight Rogers or Arlovski, cause he’s ready for them now. With his skills and athleticism he’s ready for anyone not holding a belt in Strikeforce.
    This also isn’t the first time he’s talked about fighting top guys. He said he wanted “the best” after his fight with Sims, instead he’s gonna fight Griggs. Sounds like a lot of talk to me.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Possibly Bobby should have done TUF 10 and his career would be in a different gear entirely…

  • cocoonofhorror says:

    gimme a break. Lashley is a side-show.

  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    Give the guy a break fellas-If he turns out to be a genuine talent- it will only make the Heavyweight division that much better-If he doesn’t-oh well-One thing I love about MMA is the purity of the competition

  • Makington says:

    “I’m sure you can take anyone down, I just didn’t think you’d start with your own MMA career.”

    lmao, brilliant mcm. Gota say I agree too. Why would anyone be afraid to tell Lashley he is taking things too slow? It’s a compliment in a way, and it’s not like he would just punch someone out for the mere suggestion lol.

    He has amazing physical attributes, and extremely legitimate wrestling skills to prove that he’s an athlete. At 34, why toy around when his best years are definitely not ahead of him. It’s not like he’s a 22 year old like Phil Davis or Jon Jones. He simply doesn’t have the time to grow like them and he should step up like he says he will and like I think he can.

    He’s proved a lot already with wrestling, and like Chael proved (kinda) wrestling can win a lot of fights even if you aren’t nearly as well rounded as a fighter. If he doesn’t fight a big name with a lot of recognition behind him after this fight then his window will only get even smaller.

  • Sykotick says:

    Swing Em.. Its not thatt people are bashing the fighters that Bob is facing, you would be just as outraged if GSP were only fighting guys like Diego Sanchez, not that he is a bad fighter, he just has no business being in the Oct. Against GSP. Or Anderson Silva against Drew McFederies, or Fedor against Yvels. Again, not that they’re bad fighters, just that they should he facing better comp.

  • JBAR says:

    Don’t hold the fighter totally responsible for the opponents, the fights are put together by a matchmakers and promoters. He may be asking for better opponents and just not being given them. Keep in mind the business side where they want to build up a fighter for a big payday. 6-0 really does not do it but 10-0 might if he can get 1 of those wins over someone with name recoignition even if they are past their prime. Not saying this is the case here, just looking at it from a different view.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Maybe if Bobby lashely actually had that fight with Shane del Rosario, he would have lost but I think it would have been the wake up call to get the wheels turning a bit quicker and to start being proactive and aggressive with his mma career… I know he’s not the end all be all with match making and the other logistics in his career but he does certainly have a say and does need to push forward a bit harder and faster.

  • JBAR says:

    Agreed Rece Rock, I was just pointing out that the promoters and matchmakers typically put their own interests (money) first and what is best for a fighters career falls somewhere below that.

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