Bobby Lashley has been built up slowly in Bellator MMA. And fair enough: in previous steps up in competition, such as against Chad Griggs in Strikeforce, the pro wrestler certainly had his struggles.

However Lashley got his revenge at Bellator 145: Vengeance against one of only two fighters to hold victories over him, by defeating the last man to earn a win over him in the cage, James Thompson. This bout was a rematch of their SFL fight from 2012. In the process he cemented his status as one of Bellator’s biggest stars, earning the best ratings of the night.

That last statement is crucial: on a supposedly stacked card, Bobby Lashley was the biggest draw — and his was just the second televised fight of the night.

Meanwhile, Bellator’s heavyweight champion, Vitaly Minakov, is nowhere to be found, having not defended his title since April 2014. Or, more accurately, he’s only to be found in Europe, where he has taken and won several fights of late, leading to many, Lashley included, to call for him to be stripped of his title.

You can see where this is going. Does anyone else smell opportunity here?

What happens with Minakov will likely determine who Lashley meets in the cage next. Cheick Kongo was just announced for a fight at Bellator 150 against undefeated prospect Augusto Sakai, and should he win, a case could be made for a Lashley vs. Kongo showdown for either an interim title, or the real deal should Bellator opt to strip the Russian fighter of his championship.

Why Kongo? Lets face it, in a shallow division, he’s really the only option. Kongo lost to Minakov in 2014, and is 5-2 in Bellator overall, but is coming off a win over ex-champion Alexander Volkov, and has enough name value that him vs. Lashley should bring in well over a million viewers. The other option, name value wise, would be Kimbo Slice, but he’s busy settling an old beef with a guy no one has ever heard of.

If Bellator opts not to go this route, then someone like Chase Gormley, or better yet Justin Wren, the feelgood story of 2015, would suffice as a placeholder fight for Lashley. However, pushing forty, it feels like the time is now to give the two-profession star one last, big push. Bellator could do far worse, and frankly has.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.