(Belts? We don’t need no stinking belts.)
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker mentioned in an interview this week that the winner of the December 4 light heavyweight bout between Dan Henderson and Renato Sobral will likely be next in line for a shot at the promotion’s 205-pound titleholder, Rafael Cavalcante.
Coker’s revelation seems a bit questionable considering Sobral, who defeated Robbie Lawler at a 195-pound catchweight in his last bout hasn’t fought at 205 for the promotion since losing his title to Gegard Mousasi in 2009 and Henderson, who lost to Jake Shields in a title bout in his Strikeforce debut hasn’t fought under the SF banner at that weight at all.
Regardless of whether or not he beats Henderson or earns a shot at his old belt, Babalu says he may not stick around at light heavyweight for long, revealing that he wants to go wherever there are challenging fights.
"I’m looking for challenges now. Belts don’t mean as much to me any more. I want good match-ups. That’s what keeps me motivated to fight. I’d like to fight maybe at heavyweight. It depends. It all depends on the opponents. If you give me good match-ups, I’ll fight at any weight," Babalu tells CagePotato.com. "I can go up and I can go down. If it’s a good bout for me and I say I want to fight that guy, I’ll move to the weight they’re at. I don’t have any preference. It’s not about weight classes; it’s about fighters."
Having lobbied for the rematch with Henderson, Sobral says he wanted the fight because it excited him and he knew he would be motivated to train for the bout to the best of his ability. He says that he got into a rut for a while, as a fighter that he never wants to get into again as it affected his preparations and his will to compete.
"Before, I would have opponents who weren’t challenging to me and it was tough to stay focused and interested in those fights. I want to fight. I want to fight because I’m right here in the situation where I need the motivation and I’m motivated by good challenges," Sobral explains. "Dan Henderson is one of the biggest challenges ever that I could have. He’s a really good opponent and I need to be ready for him. That’s exciting for me and it should be exciting for the fans."
Another rematch that would excite Sobral would be one with Fedor Emelianenko, whom he lost to by unanimous decision in 2001 in Rings.
When asked about whether he had Emelianenko on his mind when he decided to follow the lead of his friend and training partner, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in becoming a moneyweight fighter, Sobral didn’t hesitate in answering.
"Hell yeah! For sure!"