Strikeforce: Matt Lindland Would Like To Avoid Retirement, Robbie Lawler's Fists
http://www.thewrestlingtalk.com/images/pixel.gifWhat is it about athletes turning 40 that makes everyone ask questions about retirement?
"It's something that (the media) brings up more often than I do, so it gets me thinking about it. If I didn't put so much time and energy into my training and preparation, I could put those same principles that I've applied toward athletics and put them to work in another area. I'd probably make a lot more money than I do fighting."
That's Matt Lindland, Strikeforce middleweight and as of this past May, an entrant into the 40-year-old club.
But "The Law" isn't planning on playing more golf, chilling with the family or running for office in Oregon anytime soon.
Actually, he wants to fight more often than he is now.
The former UFC veteran and U.S. Olympian steps into the cage for the 2nd time this year Saturday against fellow UFC alum Robbie Lawler in one of the featured fights at Strikeforce: St.Louis.
Although Lawler has 26 pro fights, he's 12 years Lindland's junior and brings a reputation of not just hitting, but hitting hard. 16 KOs in 19 wins will do that.
Lindland (22-7) understands and has a simple outlook on how to combat it.
http://www.thewrestlingtalk.com/images/pixel.gif"My strengths are obviously the wrestling background. If I can make him wrestle more often than he can make me box, that's really the key," the former Nebraska Cornhusker explained.
Both Lawler and Lindland were UFC employees from 2002-2004 and have competed in a lot of different places in the six years since that time. Lindland believes both men have skillsets that have grown since then which will make for an exciting fight Saturday.
"Robbie's not the same fighter he was 10 years ago when we were back in the UFC. He fought with a ton of heart and would swing for the fences to take your head off. Now, he's a well-skilled, trained and conditioned athlete that still has a ton of heart and still has knockout power," Lindland said.
Lindland was last seen competing back in May in a relatively easy 3rd round TKO win over Kevin Casey in front of a hometown crowd. It was a win he desperately needed coming off two straight 1st-round losses including a highlight reel KO at the hands of Vitor Belfort.
Lindland said he's been calling Strikeforce almost every week asking for his next opponent and jumped at the chance when Lawler (19-6-0-1) was offered.
"Two fights in a year is a lot of training and not enough whuppin' ass. We don't get paid for training, so the more times I can fight and get in the ring, the better it is for me, " said Lindland, who will have one fight left on his Strikeforce deal after Saturday.
http://www.thewrestlingtalk.com/images/pixel.gifEven after 29 professional fights in 13 years and a silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 2000 Summer Olympics, Lindland still has the most important attribute any professional athlete needs: the desire to compete.
"I truly enjoy getting out there and competing. Some days, it's easier than others to get in the gym and put in the hours, but my whole career, I've done this," Lindland said. "It would be weird not to get up and go to the gym. I would feel like I'm not doing something that day. I can't even describe it."
Saturday, he'll be in a competition for sure but win or lose, he hopes to leave something for the fans to remember.
"They can expect me to come out, compete and fight every minute of every round. I'm not going to back down. I'm going to move forward, put a lot of pressure on Robbie and make him fight my fight."
Josh Nason is a New England-based freelance MMA journalist that covers live events, has written for FIGHT! Magazine and frequently does radio/podcast appearances. He asks for your "like" for ESPN Boston to cover MMA. Follow him on Twitter.