High-level fighters are generally prepared for any challenge they face whether in the ring or outside of it, as a certain level of mental toughness created by years upon years of grinding in the gym and absorbing damage in a sport predicated on physical contact. However, when it comes to the battle Strikeforce light heavyweight Muhammed Lawal is currently embroiled in pertaining to his health, the former champion nearly called it quits to what would have been life-altering or even life-ending results.

Lawal recently peeled back a layer to reveal how low he’d sunk during his painful, extended treatment for a staph infection inside his knee occurring after he’d had surgery to repair ligament damage inside it. The situation got so serious he nearly had his leg amputated, had a catheter inserted into his heart, and has lost more than 30 pounds since first going under the knife.

“I got to the point where I was like, f*ck it. I just felt like, hey, I’m going to quit taking this medicine, and if I die then I die. I’m tired of this stuff,” said Lawal of the circumstances in an interview with CNNSI, adding it really hit him how bad were things when it looked in the mirror and could see his hip-bone.

Fortunately, as individuals like Lawal often do, the 31-year old fought through the adversity and came out on top. While he’s still not completely out of the woods yet health-wise, things appear to be progressing in a positive direction including Lawal’s state of mind.

“I feel like I looked death in the face, and I survived. I’m talking death of my career, and death in life. I faced that. It was tough. It really did make me appreciate my life, just my everyday life,” Lawal explained. “I used to think, not that I hated working out, but that I hated feeling tired. Now, I miss feeling tired. I miss getting punched, kicked, kneed, elbowed. I miss all that.”

It is still unknown when Lawal will be fit enough to get back to training at 100%, but, it appears he’ll do so as a new man who takes nothing for granted, and one thing that can be said with certainty is a motivated “King Mo” should make for an especially dangerous individual.