Muhammad "King Mo" Lawal is never one to hold back how he feels about everything, regardless if it is MMA, pro/amateur wrestling, boxing, etc. The outspoken former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion returns to the cage Saturday night as Lawal (8-1 MMA, 3-1 SF) will face undefeated prospect Lorenz Larkin (12-0 MMA, 3-0 SF). The event takes place from The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Lawal-Larkin is on the main card which will air on Showtime, while the prelims will air on Showtime Extreme.
When the fight was first announced Lawal only had one focus in mind.
"You know what," Lawal told me. "He's undefeated and it's time to give him his first loss."
Lawal does give respect to Larkin's skills as a fighter, though.
"I think he's very unorthodox, flashy." Lawal said. "He's solid, not solid. He's a solid fighter, he wins, he's good. He's tricky, he's good with what he does."
Larkin is well known for his striking prowess and King Mo has always been known for wrestling. We saw improved striking from Lawal as he knocked out Roger Gracie in September. Lawal is very confident in every aspect of his game and isn't worried about what Larkin can do to him.
I can deal with anybody. With Gracie, Grace I could have taken him down a bunch of times and made him just stand back up. The thing is with Larkin is yea I can take him down, but we will see where the fight goes. I'm confident in my hands. Who have you (Larkin) knocked out with his kicks? Nobody. I'm prepared for whatever he has. I'm not worried. I've been training with a great camp. I've trained with everybody. I've seen everything I can see. I know flash. I can defeat flash easy.
A lot of people think of this card on Saturday as old school versus new school, particulary in this fight. Lawal greatly disputes that theory.
I've never thought about it like that, because if it's old school versus new school, then how does he have more fights than me? To me, it's fighter versus fighter. I don't look at it as I've been in Strikeforce for two and a half years and he hasn't been in Strikeforce as long. I just look at it as, 'hey he's a fighter'. I don't care where he's fought.
There was a sentiment to some people that Strikeforce was having a four-man tournament to crown a new Light Heavyweight Champion involving Lawal, Larkin and Ovince St. Preux and Gegard Mousasi with Mousasi defeating St. Preux in December. Lawal doesn't feel Mousasi deserves that opportunity and everyone is forgetting about a former champion.
I don't know. We'll find out because Feijao is still there. I wouldn't mind fighting Feijao. What did Mousasi do to warrant a shot at the title? What he had a draw with Jardine, who took the fight on weeks' notice? Does that qualify as a win now? He barely hung on to defeat OSP, who is a young fighter still and is coming up in his prime. So you mean after two wins and he beat (Hiroshi) Izumi WOW!! in Japan. I guess he's warranted a title shot.
You can listen to the two part interview with King Mo here.
You can follow me on Twitter @fightclubchi.
Steven Muehlhausen is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.