Lashley Hesitant, But Open to Bout Against Batista


Bobby Lashley file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com

Strikeforce heavyweight prospect Bobby Lashley said he’d be willing to take a bout against fellow World Wrestling Entertainment star Dave Batista if that was what the promotion wanted -- though he has his reservations.

“It’s not really the direction I want to move (in), but if it’s worth it and they really think he’s ready and Strikeforce wants me to fight him, I’ll take the fight,” Lashley told Sherdog.com last week.

The 34-year-old Lashley, a former WWE champion who owns the ATT Altitude gym in Aurora, Colo., is in his final weeks of training for a bout against Chad Griggs at Strikeforce “Houston” on Aug. 21 at the Toyota Center in Houston.

A four-time All-American and three-time NAIA national champion for Missouri Valley College, Lashley is undefeated in five pro MMA bouts. In January, Lashley scored a first-round technical knockout against an unthreatening Wes Sims in his Strikeforce debut. Lashley withdrew from a June bout with the promotion due to a minor knee injury, he said.

Batista, who recently parted ways with the WWE following an eight-year run with the pro wrestling juggernaut, began introductory training at the Cesar Gracie Academy in Lodi, Calif., in July. The 41-year-old Batista, who is said to have limited combat sports experience, is in negotiations with the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has already hinted at a potential bout between Lashley and Batista for one of the company’s first pay-per-view offerings in 2010 or 2011.

Lashley and Batista worked side-by-side for a time during their respective WWE careers. Lashley described Batista as a friend and “a great guy” who’d take the sport and its rigorous training schedule seriously. However, Lashley questioned whether a match with Batista would work within his own career trajectory.

“I’ve had a good game plan up to this point and I really want to move in the right direction,” said Lashley. “Dave’s just starting out. I’m looking to better myself and get better opponents each time. Griggs is 8-1 and there’s a lot of top heavyweight guys out there right now, so I really have my eyes set on a handful of those guys.

“I’m not disrespecting Dave at all, but he’s new to the game,” continued Lashley. “That’s definitely a fight for the fans, but not so much for my career. I’d do it and keep moving forward.”

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