September 29, 2007

by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight Champion Bobby Southworth faces tough Canadian Bill “The Butcher” Mahood Saturday night at the Playboy Mansion in a non-title fight. This will be Strikeforce’s first event at the Playboy Mansion and it’s garnering a lot of attention.

Southworth, most notable for being on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series, is coming off of a nearly 10-month layoff. MMAWeekly spoke with Bobby about his lengthy absence.

“I’ve been trying to get back in the ring for almost a year now,” explained Southworth. “I had some, not physical setbacks, but just a hard time securing me some fights, at 205 pounds that is.”

Following his stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Southworth fought just one time for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Many fans have wondered why Southworth decided to fight for the Strikeforce promotion, considering the popularity he had from The Ultimate Fighter.

“I’m very happy with Strikeforce. I’m very grateful that they’ve helped revive my career,” said Southworth.

“UFC is obviously the big dog. They’re getting a lot of exposure. [But] I’m not a guy that fights for fame. I tell anybody if you have a choice to have fame or fortune, take fortune because when you’re walking down the street and everyone knows your name, it doesn’t put food on the table. I’d be perfectly happy to have a fat bank account than have everyone know who I am.”

That same attitude shows in Southworth’s dedication to American Kickboxing Academy, which is where he trains in San Jose, Calif. “I’ve been there since day one.”

Although Southworth is the light heavyweight champion, this bout with Mahood is not in defense of his belt.

“When I won the title, I told Strikeforce that I don’t mind fighting five round fights, but I would like to fight anywhere from four to six times a year. I don’t think anybody can really train to do four to six five-round fights a year,” Southworth explained.

“I asked them before this fight ever even came up, if I can do a title fight, every other fight … and that’s what was agreed upon.”

Mahood is a very tough fighter out of Canada who holds a notable win over UFC veteran Jason MacDonald. He’s also faced the likes of Forrest Griffin and Patrick Cote.

While Mahood’s career has been up and down of late, Southworth is not taking him lightly.

“He’s a knowledgeable guy. He’s a tough guy and he’s going to bring it. It’s a fight. A lot of people don’t give him a lot of credit as a fighter. Myself, I give any fighter credit who steps in the cage.”

Credit doesn’t equal a free pass, however, as Southworth expects to walk out of the cage on Saturday night with a victory, and a decisive one at that.

“I’m going to come in there and I’m going to punch. He’s going to fall down and it’s going to be over.”