Muhammed Lawal is ready to hang up the gloves for good. He just has one thing to take care of first.
The 38-year-old already retired once following his loss to Jiri Prochazka at RIZIN 15 earlier this year. Yet retiring on a loss was not easy to stomach, and he decided to fight once more, this time at Bellator 233.
“It bugged me, man,” Lawal told BJPENN.com of his decision to fight again. “I want to end on a win, I have the opportunity to in Bellator and end my career with a win. And, to end it with Scott Coker in Bellator… I started off in Japan, but Strikeforce is who made me. Coker has always been good to me and I wanted to end with the win, unlike wrestling. In wrestling, I ended with a loss so here I can end with a win in Bellator.”
In his farewell fight, King Mo will take on promotional newcomer, Andrew Kapel. Lawal believes his experience and power will be too much for his opponent.
“I think I am bigger. But don’t be surprised if he weighs more than me. I’m faster, stronger, my experience will take me over the top,” he explained. “He is resilient from what I have seen. He is tough but he has not fought anyone like me. I’m so much quicker now. I feel good. In the past, I say I have felt good because we have to say that, but for real, now I really feel good. No injuries.”
In this fight, Lawal believes he has the striking and wrestling advantage. Kapel is a jiu-jitsu specialist, yet the 38-year-old Lawal isn’t worried about that at all.
“I’m not worried about his jiu-jitsu. I have grappled with guys like Fabricio Werdum and helped him win ADCC,” he said. “I have helped so many people, so I am not worried about nobody. Especially when I can punch too. Please.”
Lawal expects this fight to remain standing for the most part, unless he wants to take it down the ground. Although he expects to win this fight, he is not underestimating Kapel at all.
Instead, he knows there is a good chance he will be rocked at one point in this fight.
“He is a kickboxer so I will counter him and take him down a few times and ground and pound him. If he is tough, he will be beaten up for 15 minutes, but I may have to weather something because he is a crafty guy,” Lawal explained. “He may land some good shots but I will be too much for him.”
Although has retired before, and many MMA retirements don’t last, King Mo knows this is his last fight. He is ready to end his fighting career and focus on coaching at American Top Team.
“I’m done, man. Unless everyone said Mo you looked spectacular and you gotta come back and I get fan mail to say come back — which, won’t happen because my address is not online — I’m done,” he said.
In the end, the only reason King Mo decided to come back was to end on a win. After that, it is all about giving back to the fighters at American Top Team and leading them to success.
“Yeah, I love my athletes there, male and female. I have been giving back to the gym and I want to see all these athletes I deal with to do better than me,” he explained. “I want to see Ricky Bandejas, Sidney Outlaw, Shoeface [Antonio Carlos Jr.], Junior dos Santos do well. Really, all I want to see everyone at the gym doing the best.”
Win or lose at Bellator 233, King Mo will remain a legend of the sport.
What is your favorite King Mo memory of his legendary career?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/5/2019.