On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman continues our series of interviews from the 2009 FILA Grappling World Championships, and previews the December 19 Strikeforce mixed martial arts card, which will take place in San Jose, California, and will be televised live in the U.S. on Showtime.
First up is 2008 Olympic gold medalist freestyle wrestler, Henry Cejudo. His autobiography, American Victory, will be released January 5, 2010. At the Grappling World Championships, which he was observing, we spoke about his life and this new book. We also discussed the forthcoming chapters in his life, as he will now be training under the legendary Ricardo Liborio at American Top Team. There he will be learning submissions, jiu-jitsu, and grappling, as he prepares potentially to become a mixed martial arts fighter. We also discuss his plans to return to wrestling for the 2012 Olympics, how he has been a lifelong student of boxing, and more.
Next is another member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team, Ben Askren. He won a gold medal at the 2009 Grappling World Championships this past weekend at 84 kg/185 lbs. in men's no-gi grappling. We spoke with him candidly about what this victory does and does not mean, why he wants changes to these grappling rules to attract more jiu-jitsu athletes to this event, how he will continue to wrestle as well as improve his jiu-jitsu skills, his signing by the Bellator Fighting Championships to begin fighting in their mixed martial arts events in April 2010, training to compete in wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and mixed martial arts all at once, and more.
We next speak with a regular guest on No Holds Barred, the undefeated mixed martial arts fighter and freestyle and college wrestling champion, "King" Mo Lawal. He will be making his debut in Strikeforce when he faces mixed martial arts veteran Mike Whitehead in a heavyweight bout on the December 19 show. We spoke with "King" Mo about how he plans to fight his opponent, fighting at heavyweight, his first fight in a cage, how he has been treated in Strikeforce, whether he prefers competing in mixed martial arts or wrestling, his expected entourage of "queens" who will accompany him to the cage, and much more.
The main event of this December 19 Strikeforce card features the unbeaten former Strikeforce middleweight champion, Cung Le, who vacated his title to concentrate on an acting career, returning to competition to face veteran Scott Smith. On a recent media conference call, we spoke with both Cung Le and Scott Smith about whether or not Cung Le will also have to fight ring rust, what to expect in this fight regarding the mix of striking and grappling, and more.
This is another edition of No Holds Barred loaded with discussions with some of the top combat sports athletes in the world, so make sure to check it out.
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Thanks, Eddie Goldman