After years of bouncing around promotions and splitting time between MMA and pro wrestling, heavyweight Bobby Lashley has found a home in the Bellator promotion.
Earlier this year, Lashley made his debut for the company with a second-round submission win over Josh Burns in September, and now he’s ready to make his return Friday night at Bellator 130.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com during his final week prior to the fight, Lashley spoke about joining Bellator, how he handles the pressures of expectation, and where he feels he can go in 2015.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Bobby, tell us your thoughts on your win over Josh Burns at Bellator 123.
Bobby Lashley: I had a good training camp leading up to that fight. We had a really good game plan. I felt the fight went great. I didn’t really leave any holes in the game. We always say we can do better. I’m never going to say I did perfect, but for what it’s worth, I thought it was a good fight – a good victory – and will set me up nicely for my next fight.
MMAWeekly.com: How important was it for you to not only win, but also to have a good showing in your debut for Bellator?
Bobby Lashley: I think it was important, especially for me and what I’m doing right now; I think every one of my fights is important. It was important for me to have a good showing because I just started getting back and there’d be a lot of eyes on me, so I wanted to go out there and do what I was trained to do and put on a good show, and I feel I accomplished that.
MMAWeekly.com: You’re currently on a four-fight winning streak. What has been working so well for you of late?
Bobby Lashley: I think each fight I’m getting better and I want to keep showing that. The holes are starting to come together. I understand the game more and I think I’m starting to show that. With each fight I’m progressing and moving in the right direction.
MMAWeekly.com: You mentioned earlier all the eyes on you every time you fight. Do you feel pressure with all the build-up around you or are you able to put that all aside come fight time?
Bobby Lashley: I know it’s there. I’m not going to try to go around it. I’ve got to bring it in, embrace it, and let it work for me. I’m kind of used to it with the pro wrestling background, being in front of those crowds; so I’m able to ease myself, relax myself, and do what I need to do. I know the crowd’s there, but I’m not going to let it throw me off, and instead I’m going to make it work for me.
MMAWeekly.com: This Friday you’ll be making your return to Bellator against Karl Etherington in Mulvane, Kan. Can you tell us about your thoughts on the match-up and what you feel you must do in order to get the win?
Bobby Lashley: He’s going to come with a whole bunch of confidence and is a big, strong dude, but I think my key to victory is to control the fight and not let it get away from me. I know he likes to come in fast and hard and try to finish it quick, so either I just bang with him and go after it or I keep it controlled and just wear him down.
MMAWeekly.com: What do you feel a win over Etherington can do for your career moving forward?
Bobby Lashley: The same thing any other fight will do for me: put me one step closer towards winning that title. I think with the heavyweight division in Bellator, there’s a lot of room for someone to step up. They have a handful of guys who are right there, so I think with the right fights it can put me up in that title fight real soon. I think the fight is going to be a big boost, and then after that, I think I’m 2 to 3 fights away from that title fight.
MMAWeekly.com: So a win on Friday night will definitely set up for what you feel will be your year in 2015?
Bobby Lashley: Yes, absolutely.