Bobby Lashley Following in Lesnar’s Footsteps

Former professional wrestler Bobby Lashley is following in the footsteps of UFC Heavyweight Champion, and fellow former pro wrestler, Brock Lesnar by entering the world of cage fighting. But Lashley and Lesnar have far more than that in common. Lashley, like Lesnar, is a former national champion wrestler in college, winning 3 consecutive NAIA titles at Missouri Valley College from 1996 to 1998.

Since his MMA debut in December 2008, Lashley has been nothing short of dominant. He holds a perfect 5-0 record with 2 KOs and 2 submission victories. His victims include former UFC and TUF veterans Jason Guida and Wes Sims and former PRIDE and K-1 superstar Bob Sapp. Bobby Lashley also has that rare combination of size, strength and speed that we have only seen in one other fighter, Brock Lesnar. He is known for his chiseled muscular physique and is one of the only fighters to ever overpower the 340 pound Sapp.

Following his college wrestling career, he enlisted in the US Army and continued to wrestle, taking aim at the Olympic Trials before a knee injury in 2003 ended his amateur career. As many former collegiate wrestlers before him found out, Lashley’s only career option at that point was professional wrestling. Thanks to the rise of MMA and due in part to the success of UFC’s trademark reality television show, The Ultimate Fighter, amateur wrestlers finally have a logical move to a competitive sport that is not scripted.

Many people are hesitant to give Lashley the credit he deserves due to his history in professional wrestling. However several of MMA’s elite have had stints in the choreographed matches. Former UFC champions Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn both competed in the WWE and wrestled professionally in Japan and both Lesnar and Sapp have moved on to successful fighting careers as well. In fact, it is quite common for Japanese fighters to compete in both MMA and pro wrestling concurrently, including stars such as Hayato Sakurai and Kaz Sakuraba.

One big difference though, is that Bobby Lashley has decided to take a much more calculated path into the sport of MMA than Brock, who fought former UFC Champ Frank Mir in just his second pro fight. Instead, Lashley has chosen to take his time to learn each of the disciplines that make up mixed martial arts before jumping right into title contention.

But don’t be fooled though, Bobby Lashley is a true athlete and a valid title contender down the road. Unlike former WWE superstar Dave Batista, who has no amateur wrestling or martial arts background, or former boxing champ James Toney, who plans to fight 5-time UFC Champ Randy Couture in his first foray into cage fighting.

Lashley is scheduled to fight Chad Griggs at Strikeforce in Houston on August 21st. If he wins, look for him to make the jump to immediate title contention, relatively fast.

For more on Strikeforce: Houston click here.

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