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‘King Mo’ Lawal down for ‘moneyweight’ fight with free agent Shane Carwin

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Esther Lin, Strikeforce

Over four months have passed since Muhammed Lawal last appeared in the Bellator MMA cage, and while the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion doesn't yet have a date in mind for his next fight, he threw out an intriguing and somewhat surprising name Monday on The MMA Hour when asked for an opponent who would interest him for his return.

"I heard Shane Carwin is looking to fight again. I wouldn't mind fighting Shane Carwin, if he wants to come back," Lawal said, referring the former UFC heavyweight slugger who recently became a free agent. "I'll fight anybody, man. Moneyweight. So anybody that's available to fight, I'm down to fight."

Carwin, 41, was once one of the most fearsome punchers in the sport, a behemoth of a man who claimed the interim UFC heavyweight championship in 2010 and nearly dethroned Brock Lesnar in an infamous contest at UFC 116. Carwin retired from mixed martial arts due to lingering injuries in 2011, however he announced his intention to return earlier this month and was given a release from his UFC contract, making him perhaps the most coveted heavyweight on the free agent market.

The callout from the 35-year-old Lawal is unexpected, if only because of the sheer size disadvantage "King Mo" would carry into a match against Carwin. Lawal has always been a smaller 205-pounder, while Carwin is known to cut upwards of 20 pounds in order to make the 265-pound heavyweight limit. Nonetheless, as long as the money is right, Lawal said he is down to test his skills against the bigger man.

"Man, look at the old-school MMA fights back in the day," said Lawal. "I ain't hear Keith Hackney complaining about size. I don't care. At the end of the day, if I can make that weight, I'm going to fight you. Shane Carwin is the man. He has heavy hands. I sparred with him before and he touched me a few times, but it's a fight. I'm about getting paid."

Despite his size, Lawal has dabbled in the heavyweight division before with largely successful results.

He began his MMA career as a heavyweight and notched first-round stoppages over veterans like Travis Wiuff and Mark Kerr before dropping to 205 pounds and signing with Strikeforce. Of late, Lawal moved back to heavyweight to defeat Cheick Kongo at Bellator 134. He then won three consecutive fights over the span of two nights to claim gold in the inaugural Rizin Fighting Federation heavyweight grand prix.

Lawal said he enjoyed his brief time fighting in Japan for Rizin FF, although he didn't appear eager to jump back into the experience for a second go.

"I'm down for Rizin. It's just that, man, they did some things," Lawal said. "I ain't going to talk bad about them, they're a great organization. There's some things that I just have to clear up with them first.

"It has nothing to do with paying me or something like that. It's other things. ... I have interest in fighting for them, don't get me wrong, but it's just, I would like to talk about some more things before I fight."

Lawal declined to elaborate more on his issues with Rizin FF, however he reiterated that he hopes to appear soon back in the Bellator cage against the biggest name the promotion can find, whether it's Carwin or someone else. And in a best case scenario, he hopes that fight is sometime soon, so he can squeeze in another fight before the end of the year and make the most of an otherwise quiet 2016 campaign.

"I'm hoping (to fight) two (more) times this year," Lawal said. "I'm hoping."