There is a long history of professional wrestlers attempting to try their hand at MMA. On several occasions, these wrestlers have realized mountainous heights, like Brock Lesnar did when he won the UFC heavyweight title. On other occasions, their MMA forays have been downright disasters, like CM Punk’s long-discussed UFC debut against Mickey Gall was.
Bobby Lashley, who rose to prominence as a wrestler for WWE and TNA, undeniably falls into the former category as a bona fide MMA success story. Though the former pro wrestling star has always had his detractors, he now stands out as one of the very best fighters in Bellator’s ever-growing heavyweight division.
Lashley entered the Bellator cage with a 10-2 record, having realized most of his previous success in the Strikeforce cage. Since joining the Bellator roster, he’s racked up a nice 4-0 promotional record, scoring victories over Josh Burns, Karl Etherington, Dan Charles, and most recently James Thompson. He achieved all of these victories in the second round or sooner.
Tonight, on the main card of Bellator 162, Lashley will make the fifth effort of his Bellator career against the hot-and-cold Josh Appelt. If he wins this imminent battle, he could well find himself fighting for Bellator’s heavyweight crown, which was left vacant when former champ Vitaly Minakov was stripped for inactivity, sometime in the near future.
Of course, the next Bellator heavyweight title fight could also involve Cheick Kongo, Matt Mitrione and Sergey Kharitonov, the other top heavyweights on the Bellator roster. The fact remains, however, that Lashley is closing in on gold in a major organization.
Yet in a recent interview with Dave Meltzer for MMAFighting.com, Lashley explained that a Bellator heavyweight title fight is not his primary focus. Instead, he’s more interested in big-money fights against the kind of opposition that will allow him to silence his remaining doubters. Apparently, the former wrestling star is particularly interested in a fight with fading heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko.
“At the end of the day it’s about the money,” Lashley explained. “If I was offered a shot at fighting for the title, going for the title, or fighting Fedor, I’d go Fedor all the way. As far as a shot against Kongo, the money is important. If winning the title means making more money, then that’s what I’m going for.”
“But I’d like to fight someone to prove something to the naysayers,” Lashley continued. “I’d much rather fight somebody who is a bigger name, like Fedor, then fight for the championship. He’s Fedor. He’s an enormous name and I always looked up to him before. He’s an amazing fighter and I’d love to step in the ring with him. It would be unbelievable.”
Fedor, of course, has recently fallen on tough times. So, while he’s a far more accomplished fighter than Lashley, its possible that this one could actually be somewhat competitive. Would you be interested in seeing it? Sound off, PENN nation!