One of the best fights possible in the light heavyweight division takes place this Sunday, but you may not know a lot about it because it isn’t happening in the UFC.
Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal will battle former UFC standout Phil Davis at Bellator 154 in San Jose, California. We know about a lot about Davis: He holds big wins over Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira and Lyoto Machida and his losses were by decision against top guys such as Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Ryan Bader. Davis is one of the best fighters in the division and chose to walk away from the UFC for a better contract. His opponent, however, is less known, and if we are being real about it, should be fighting in the UFC.
King Mo is the most underrated fighter in MMA. He’s a talented wrestler, has heavy hands, and is hella funny.
It’s somewhat of a mystery why Lawal isn’t in the UFC. While fighting in Strikeforce in 2011 Mo went before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to explain why he tested positive for performance enhancement drugs. A member of the commission asked him if he spoke English. Lawal, a college graduate and Division I All-American wrestler, was offended and tweeted that the person was “racist.” UFC President Dana White fired him, even though he was only under contract with Zuffa because the UFC’s owners bought Strikeforce.
King Mo has been blasting White ever since and vice versa. In other words, King Mo won’t be headlining a UFC show anytime soon. And that’s a shame. He doesn’t need the UFC, but the fans need to see King Mo and performing on the bigger stage will show the world that here’s a guy with enormous potential. Let’s look at the top five reasons King Mo is the most underrated fighter in MMA.
5. He Manhandled Gegard Mousasi
Back in 2010, Mousasi was on top of his game. He didn’t even need to train, he was that good. So when he stepped inside the cage to fight King Mo in 2010 Mousasi was supposed to submit him or knock him out. Instead, King Mo walked right through him. He took him down at will and exposed Mousasi’s lack of wrestling defense. King Mo won a unanimous decision and took the Strikeforce strap and stunned everybody. King Mo has been really good for a long time.
4. Incredible Knockout Power
Remember Seth Petruzelli? They guy who knocked out Kimbo Slice in 14 seconds then KO’d Elite XC? Well this happened when he stepped inside the cage with King Mo.
And then he did this to Brett McDermott:
3. He is an incredible wrestler
The sad thing is that King Mo could probably win all of his matches by just wrestling his opponents. He is a Division I All-American wrestler and at one time was the No. 1 ranked college wrestler in the world. When his fights go to the ground he tends to dominate. Mo, though, a lot like Daniel Cormier, has always wanted to prove that he could get the job done by knocking guys out. Mo likes to stand with fighters, even if it is not the wisest decision (like getting knocked out by a spinning backfist). Mo is well-conditioned, smart and a great athlete. He does better against better fighters. He should be in the UFC talking trash, fighting guys like Jon Jones.
2. King Mo is smart, thoughtful and does great analysis.
Lawal knows his stuff. He knows how to break down fights. What makes his analysis even more impressive is the authenticity he brings to his breakdown. Listen to him here explain why his buddy Daniel Cormier came up short against Jon Jones. There were no excuses or attacks. It’s a humble King Mo, sad and upset that his friend lost, trying to explain what went wrong, and better yet, what he could have done differently. King Mo is emotional here in his feelings, but non-emotional in his analysis. He believes Cormier will find a way to win a rematch, and he makes a lot of sense.
1. He’s hella funny, knows how to promote fights and has “groupies.”
“You slow with a capital S,” King Mo says here, talking to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. King Mo fears no man. He will talk trash to Jackson, the Nevada State Athletic Commission and UFC President Dana White. King Mo has mastered the art of caring, but not caring about you. Watch him spar here with Rampage Jackson. Jackson loses it while Mo acts like he is goofing with a child. The video is awesome for a couple other reasons as well.
Here’s Mo rapping with Phil Davis, his upcoming opponent and Bellator 154. Mo decides to shoot on vegetarian fighters, wannabe fighters and how he has more male groupies than female ones. Oh and he really likes ice cream.
King Mo also doesn’t discriminate in his criticism. Here he goes to town on MMA referee Kim Winslow, who has refereed more than her share of controversial fights, after she let his knockout victory over Lorenz Larkin go long. How can you not like a guy who says the ref should be thrown into the cage with Cris Cyborg?