Lawal fights Przemyslaw Mysiala on Jan. 24 in the opening round of the tournament.
“It’s like this: If I beat him, then I would get no credit anyway," Lawal said. "If he beats me, then I’m a bum or the dude’s real good. To me, it’s just a fight. I’m not worried about names. Names mean nothing.”
A win by Lawal would move him closer to a shot at Bellator MMA gold, as the promotion is known for forcing contenders to fight their way to a title shot. With Bellator MMA, no title shot is handed out until a contender wins a tournament.
Lawal says the tournament format won't force him to change his approach.
“No, because to me, I’ll go out there and knock you out," Lawal said. "If I don’t knock you out, I’m going to go out there to beat you up. Regardless, my goal is to try to finish the fight. If it goes all three rounds and I’m a little bruised up, well, the ice bath will be my best friend for the next three or four weeks before my next fight.”
Lawal said he's not nervous about fighting on Spike TV in front of a national audience.
“No. I got more nervous with wrestling because with fighting, you’re getting paid," Lawal said. "You’re getting paid to show up. In wrestling, you had to win the tournament. When I went to Russia and when I went to Iran, I had to win the tournament to get paid. I had to beat my opponent and beat the referees that were trying to cheat me. That was more stressful and that was more nerve-wracking to me.”