Bobby Lashley enlists fellow pro wrestler Josh Barnett for MMA career guidance

After locking up in rings overseas and rolling backstage between worked wrestling matches, Bobby Lashley (6-1) has found an advocate in Josh Barnett (30-5).

The two recently paired up in Barnett's backyard of Irvine, Calif. After an intense training weekend, Lashley, who hopes to return to the cage in the fall, has seen the benefit of working with the Strikeforce heavyweight and hopes to make it a regular thing.

"I want to show people that I've evolved a little bit," he told (

The Denver-based fighter and sometime professional wrestler met Barnett while working for the Japanese "pro wrestling" promotion Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), and the two quickly struck up a friendship.

"The pro wrestling world is a pretty solidly knit group," Barnett said. "It's a little bit different from MMA in that there is a certain code of ethics. Even people that really don't want to obey them will still go to at least the most trivial lengths to uphold it. So you get to know each other pretty well."

Of course, Barnett immediately felt Lashley's talent on the mat and quickly realized he'd make a great training partner. He'd also watched the heavyweight's meteoric rise – and subsequent fall – in MMA and thought he could help.

Lashley, as Barnett saw it, was committing the rookie mistake of not wisely using energy in his fights and suffering the effects. A loss to Chad Griggs this past August made that clear to him, not to mention the rest of the world.

"He should be beating most of these guys in two rounds," Barnett said. "So I think it's just a lost link in the chain."

It took a year of wrestling side-by-side for Lashley to get around to buying a plane ticket. With several businesses to run, wrestling matches, training sessions and three kids, he couldn't just pick up and leave. Also considering a move to light heavyweight, he wasn't quite sure what direction his career would take.

Lashley knew, however, that he needed to improve his skills in MMA. After such a public fall, he might not get another opportunity to convince fans that he was more than just a gimmick – a pro wrestler scouted more for his imposing looks than actual skill.

And with a highly publicized withdrawal from a fight with Eddie Sanchez at Titan Fighting Championships 19 – a bout that Lashley said was never officially booked – his reputation could hinge on an impressive return.

"It's good for me to pull back a little bit," Lashley said. "I know I jumped out there a little too fast and a little too hot.

"I've never been in a training camp where I have three months to prepare for a fight. All my training camps have been that I jump over here for two weeks, then I come home, then I jump over here for two weeks, and I spend a month or … two months tops on dialing myself in."

From the first training session, Lashley and Barnett knew it was a good fit.

"We would start out drilling on our feet," Lashley said. "Of course, that was my strong suit, so we'd get a lot of drill work in and then go live with takedowns and takedowns to submissions. That was good for me because I would get him with a takedown but he would show me different things on the ground. We drilled a bunch of different series of submissions, and that's where he took over. It was great."

Barnett, on the other hand, got to work with a world-class heavyweight wrestler. Before his notoriety as a professional wrestler, Lashley was a decorated collegian whose Olympic aspirations ended when he injured his knee while a witness to a 2003 bank robbery. His skills, however, didn't go anywhere.

That could come in handy for Barnett's next fight, a meeting with Russian Sergei Kharitonov in the semifinals of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix, to say nothing of a meeting with Antonio Silva or Daniel Cormier if he makes it to the finals.

"Holy moly, man, the guy's takedowns are incredible," Barnett said. "It's not just about taking one shot on a guy. He commits, he follows through. He's got a lot behind him on the mat.

"It's hard to stay on your feet with a guy like that. Don't get me wrong, I made him work for it, trust me. But that's exactly the kind of reason I want him out here. I don't have wrestlers to his level very often."

Getting Lashley to Irvine on a consistent basis, though, is not an easy task. He said he plans to bring his family on future trips. When his next booking comes, he'll put in a full training camp, not one that's assembled piecemeal.

Now, it's just a matter of getting the next fight and following through.

"We'll see how it really goes," Barnett said. "He's not just some floating-in-the-wind kind of guy. He has quite a few commitments in his non-fight related life. It's not as easy as if it was some 22-year-old kid with nothing holding him down. But I think that we can make something work out that will be a really beneficial situation for him."

It only took one weekend of dedicated work for Lashley to see that. The process, however, is far from over.

When he does return, though, Lashley wants fans to know that he's not just a hulking wrestler.
"I'm hoping I can take something in late September or early October, and in that fight, I'd like to show people something different than what I've always showed them," Lashley said. "I'm not going to show them that I can take someone down and ground and pound them. Maybe it will be a submission. Maybe it's going to be standing with someone."

(Pictured: Bobby Lashley and Josh Barnett)

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FrostByte24 on Aug 04, 2011 at 9:34 am ET
You should have stayed in WWE. You haven't grown at all since your first fight.

lytle23 on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:26 am ET
i sense a failed drug test or 3


hectichector on Aug 04, 2011 at 2:39 pm ET

thats what i thought too...what is gonna learn from to juice up a week before a fight so that you cant be cleared to

fight...or how to fail so many drug test that the org. your fighting for conducts its own drug test...what a fu<k!n joke...i like Josh

and all but fu<k dude stay off the juice


treats on Aug 04, 2011 at 11:16 am ET
Maybe he should try not canceling his fights and get some cardio.  The amount of money this guy is losing all this time from not being in the WWE is moronic.

nickd on Aug 04, 2011 at 9:36 am ET
How about he just tries using a treadmill a little to start with??

Melvinj0 on Aug 04, 2011 at 9:38 am ET
THis (guy) has more canceled fights than he has actual fights.

rw1060 on Aug 04, 2011 at 9:42 am ET
I am still willing to give Lashley the benefit of the doubt, now that the hype has died down, but what's this about pro-wrestling having a "code of ethics" and MMA not? Um, alright.

VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 9:49 am ET
From what I understand, this "code of ethics" is about bunch of primadonnas, that always deserve a better scenario for their scripted fights and interviews, and try to promote themselves by badmouthing co-workers in front of the boss.
The name is "backstage politics".

90% of MMA fighters are very friendly with each other.

rw1060 on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:27 am ET
That's kinda what I figured.

VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:29 am ET
"demand", not "deserve"

legsDontGoThatWay on Aug 04, 2011 at 1:58 pm ET
"The pro wrestling world is a pretty solidly knit group," Barnett said. "It's a little bit different from MMA in that there is a certain code of ethics." I get what Barnett is saying there.

In MMA, there is often a close knit community within camps.

On Countdown to UFC 133 Rashad vs Ortiz they talked about this a bit. Rashad said: "There's an unspoken rule that you don't fight each other atJackson, as team mates." Then Greg Jackson said: "The fight camp here is one big family - it's all for one and one for all."

But between opponents, MMA stars are trying to hurt each other as much as possible, whereas pro-wrestling stars are trying to work together to avoid hurting each other as much as possible whilst giving the illusion that they trying to hurt each other as much as possible.

The code of ethics I believe Barnett is referring to is the fact that they constantly have to "pull their punches". If they actually tried to inflict damage with all those slams, like landing them on their necks, then people could get seriously hurt.

Of course MMA fighters have a code of ethics which says "don't touch another man's groin with your feet", and sometimes they agree not to stamp on each others feet, but it's not the same.

VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 2:11 pm ET
I think it's even more different.

MMA fighters are sportsmen and martial artists. That's their attitude in life and competition, too. At least, for most of them.

Professional wrestlers have the attitude of actors. Whatever they do in matches, they do it professionally, and to hurt someone during the match means that you don't do your job the way you're supposed to. On the other hand, that doesn't mean that what you see in their matches, or interviews, is what they really feel towards each other.
Actors are people who can easily get hypocrite, just because they're good in it (even the actors as bad as pro-wrestlers).

aruiz_md on Aug 04, 2011 at 11:35 pm ET

aruiz_md on Aug 04, 2011 at 11:38 pm ET


VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 9:46 am ET
Straight lie.
The promotion said, that Lashley returns in August.
If he really admitted, that he canceled the fight with Sanchez, because he wanted to take 3 months training camp (that's what can be understood from the article) - then how is he supposed to fight in August?
And against whom?

Plus, he is in regional promotions - does he really think, that he will always have a time for 3 months of preparations?

captncomeshot on Aug 04, 2011 at 9:56 am ET
i just cant see this guy getting down to LHW. he is ripped to the bone already and i dont see what weight he could lose to get him down there. also, it hard for me to understand why some of these wrestlers just cant pick up on the submission game. they grapple their whole life and you would think it would be sort of second nature to them. 

JW1978 on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:47 am ET
i dont see what weight he could lose to get him down there.

He could seriously cut down on his muscle mass and get down in weight. He wrestled under 200# in college. I'm really kind of surprised that he hasn't done so already if he is (or ever was) serious about MMA. He doesn't need the cartoon muscles in this sport. All those do is slow him down and kill his cardio.

JYDOG on Aug 04, 2011 at 12:10 pm ET
Thanks for college info because I couldn't see how he could do it either. You're sure right about those "cartoon muscles" -- it's like that old saying "built for show, not for go".

abracadaver on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:18 am ET
Hope to see Lashley back in action soon!

NorthernEffect on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:20 am ET
He might have the worst management team in MMA. He always said he wanted to move up slowly but if he went any slower he would be in rewind. If you want this, just commit to it for 2 years and see what the next 5 fights gets you. If you can't win them then atleast you gave it a real effort and not a jump in jump out, train a little...excusses. Your star is fading, hopfully you can figure it out soon, cause when you are on you are a great fighter to watch (his fight in MFC).

VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:22 am ET
His fight in MFC has looked even more scripted than Coleman-Takada "fight".

NorthernEffect on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:48 am ET
Thats how good he can be.....!

markdaprodigy on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:25 am ET
whats barnett gonna teach how to get successfully caught using steroids 3 times hahahah

VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:28 am ET
Look at Lashley's body, and remember where he came from.
It's more likely, that he knows very well how NOT to get caught.

markdaprodigy on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:52 am ET
ur prob right...but it was just a joke lol 

VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 11:00 am ET
Yeah, I got it, I just let the joke flow a bit more

bruno_sardine on Aug 04, 2011 at 12:42 pm ET
even for a joke, the comments from both of you sound 100% accurate to me!

tkotom on Aug 04, 2011 at 10:46 am ET
Lesnar vs Lashley. 

You know you want it. 

VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 11:02 am ET
Well, I don't.
Why? Just because both come from professional wrestling? Should I care?
Should anyone care?

PrayerPolice on Aug 04, 2011 at 11:30 am ET
unless there's a steel chair involved, I don't care

VanillaGorilla4Life on Aug 04, 2011 at 5:02 pm ET
 Who want's it? Why would anyone want to see a novice heavyweight with no big fights fight the former UFC Heavyweight champ & current top 5 heavyweight in the world? Thats like saying we want to see Junie Browning vs Frankie Edgar.

 The only thing Lesnar & lashley have in common is they were both pr wrestlers at one time. Lesnar is the real deal & he has proven it, anyone who say's different is either in denial or just plain ignorant.

Kizaru on Aug 04, 2011 at 11:54 am ET
LOL, I think its amazing how he says a community which has been always portrayed as being a bunch of bullies(pro wrestling) is a closer knit then the mma community, I alway see fighters saying that their gyms are like home for them and their family is their training partners and coaches, Lashley just need to stop trying to be Brock and join an actual camp instead of making his own camp, or bringing people in,  Brock has fantastic people working with him, Josh Barnett trainers actually, its a whole diferent situation and even Brock should do the same, pass some time in a gym to adquire some knowladge(he did, he trained at Xtreme Couture when he was doing TUF).

That basicly it, get a gym, actually try to know people and be friendly, don't act like a belladona and I'm sure you will have people that wil help you and have worth ethic and you can have them as actual friends since Lashley seems to be missing that lool...

I call BS on his standup being amazing, he didn't show it at all and I dont think he did it just because he prefers GnP.

SayltAintSo on Aug 04, 2011 at 12:41 pm ET
He needs to evolve his cardio, and lose some of that muscle mass. His striking is also very weak. What other advice could he need?

VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 12:57 pm ET stop ducking an appropriate competition?

But you can sum it all in one advise:
to approach his MMA career the way Daniel Cormier does.

bigstupidsmile on Aug 04, 2011 at 2:36 pm ET
I am overwhelmed by the positivity of many of the posters here.

VadimWhite on Aug 04, 2011 at 2:38 pm ET
Well, Bobby Lashley has shown the class of an MMA fighter all the way, and was worth every piece of his hype.
So why shouldn't we be positive?

MMA_SpiderMan on Aug 04, 2011 at 2:37 pm ET
off topic, im in shock mmajunkie hasnt released info on fedor being cut from strikeforce yet.... ohhh well

TeaTownCowboy on Aug 04, 2011 at 5:34 pm ET
Will he ever live down that statement about Leben: You fatherless ba$tard! Guess ole Bobby never knew that ba$tard means you grow up w/out a daddy, lol.  I've never heard/read about him having any sort of remorse for being a dinkus on that show.  Not a big fan.

TeaTownCowboy on Aug 04, 2011 at 5:35 pm ET
Hah hah, I read that as Bobby Southworth, my bad, LOLOLOL!

BWE on Aug 05, 2011 at 12:16 am ET
do you actually read the article or just post as soon as you read the headline?

how do u get southworth mixed up with lashley when the article is about wrestling and mma ?

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