Bobby Lashley: I’ve been working a lot on my boxing and striking, but at the end of the day, wrestling is what got me to the dance

Spending so much of his life in wrestling, both collegiate and professionally, Bobby Lashley entered the fight game a bit later than most.Bobby Lashley

He debuted in 2008 at age 32, has bounced around organizations and had some prolonged layoffs to cash in on some professional wrestling opportunities.

Now, after finding a mixed martial arts home in Bellator, Lashley is ready to make a genuine run.

He explains, “I see some of the guys I started training out with and they are going on and doing really big things. It makes me think that if I would have just stuck in there, I would have had more opportunities and I would have been able to do bigger things myself. Now that I have that opportunity again, I need to do everything I can in my power to make it happen.”

One of his biggest motivators, and teachers, is fellow crossover star Josh Barnett.

“Someone I consider a mentor of mine, Josh Barnett, recently sent me a text and told me that I’m only going to be able to do this for so long, so I should do it while I can. That hit a nerve with me. I’m here so I don’t have to look back with any regrets.”

In hopes of capitalizing on his latest opportunity, Lashley is taking the steps to hone his craft, some of which include Barnett.

“I go out to California and work out with Josh, and he has the type of heavy top-game that makes you want to tap out just to get him off of you. But he’s a very intelligent guy and his submission game is excellent.”

“Of course I’ve been working a lot on my boxing and striking, but at the end of the day, wrestling is what got me to the dance, so I think expanding my submission grappling is a wise move.”

The goal is to continue improving and climb the Bellator heavyweight ranks. Next up is Karl Etherington on Friday night in Kansas. Lashley’s game plan for Etherington is likely to be his bread and butter, his wrestling.

“If I want to stand, I’ll throw some punches and see what he does – if he doesn’t do anything, I can take him down. It’s not going to be his option. It’ll be mine.”

At 38 and the clock on his athletic prime ticking down, Bobby Lashley appears as motivated as ever. He wants to ensure that he never looks back thinking “What if?”

“My manager was just telling me that I’m “Mr. Potential” right now because I have the potential to do a lot – but whether I act on that potential is up to me. So I’m going to really live out the potential this time. There are times in my career when I took time off, then came back and then went away again. I’m not doing that this time. This time I’m going all out, and when I’m done, I’m done. We’ll see where that potential takes me, and I think it’s going to be real far.”