Famed Green Bay Packers coach is attributed with saying, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” In terms of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, it’s very appropriate. Bobby Lashley is a one trick pony who doesn’t have enough horsepower to get to the finish line with his conditioning intact.
Bobby Lashley is one of those guys who entered the sport of MMA with a whole bunch of fanfare. Bobby was a former professional wrestler, who competed at the highest possible level in front of millions of fans. His foray into MMA was looked at with a lot of promise, but many felt it was more hype than substance or to steal a line from the wrestling world, more sizzle than steak.
He now boasts an impressive 6-1 record, but nobody is rushing to call him a top prospect or an above average heavyweight. You see, he’s been winning, but winning dreadfully. He was matched up against a fighter in John Ott who now sports an 8-8 record and is a blown up Light Heavyweight. He was named on short notice and should have been dismantled handedly by Lashley. He wasn’t. Ott took the fight the distance and in the final round, had Lashley in deep water when he was landing shots on a visibly exhausted and vulnerable Lashley.
Bobby Lashley didn’t escape the fight without scathing commentary by Frank Trigg and “The Voice” Michael Schiavello either. The announces called him out on his conditioning, with Trigg going so far as to say, “Lashley didn’t prove to us, or to any naysayer, to anybody watching at home, one way or the other that he’s a legit heavyweight contender in any shape, fashion or form. He’s got a lot more work to do.” He wasn’t done though, later in the third round, Frank Trigg stated, “Basically, what he is, is a high-caliber college wrestler who spent some time in WWE, crossed over into fighting without learning anything else.” The fact is that seems to be a fair assessment.
Bobby doesn’t have decent standup, good cardio, any real submission offense or any legitimate way of finishing a fight, outside of opening a cut with an elbow or smothering a fighter for three rounds and taking a decision as was the case Friday night. If he is ever to be taken seriously as a mixed martial artist, he needs to start training cardio, learn a few submissions and become a mixed martial artist, not a wrestler with gas issues.
He pounded on Ott for nearly three minutes while Ott carelessly left him arm wide open for a straight armbar. Bobby didn’t just avoid taking the submission attempt; he failed to see it as a possibility. That is Jiu Jitsu 101 and Lashley looked clueless as to the possibility of ending the fight with the armbar.
One recommendation is for him to go back out to an established school and train there full time. I understand he has his own gym, but he doesn’t have the tools or necessary skills to train himself and “bring guys in.” He needs to be with a Greg Jackson, a Bob Cook or somewhere where he can get the needed teaching as he becomes a complete fighter.
Now that he’s left Strikeforce and they’ve been gobbled up by Zuffa, Bobby is likely to continue to be the big main event name on the smaller cards. It’ll be a nice way for him to earn a living, but if he ever wants to be accepted by the fickle and cynical fans of MMA, he needs to get better.
At this point in Bobby Lashley’s career, the critics are right. He doesn’t have a lot of tools at his disposal and his constant issues with cardio make him very vulnerable to late round TKO losses. He can only get by for so long fighting guys he’s supposed to beat easily before his record dictates he steps up in competition and at his current talent level, it would be bad for him. He has stated in recent articles that his goals are to be the best heavyweight and to become a champion. I don’t see it happening anytime soon, and frankly, it would have to be sooner rather than later for Lashley.
Times ticking away on Lashley, he’s 34 years old in a sport unforgiving of guys near 40. He needs to make the needed decisions for his career now, or he’ll never be seen as anything more than, “That WWE guy.”