Bobby Lashley is on top of WWE after defeating The Miz to become WWE Champion. The win comes over 15 years after making his WWE debut. Lashley left WWE in 2008 to pursue other ventures, including MMA. He made his MMA debut in 2008 and went on to have a solid career in the sport.
His first match was against Joshua Franklin in December 2008 and he won via TKO. Lashley would go on to win his next three matches before signing Strikeforce in 2010. His first bout in Strikeforce was against Wes Sims in January 2010, and he won via TKO. However, Lashley would suffer his first MMA loss seven months later, falling to Chad Griggs via TKO in the second round. In a 2014 interview with MMA Junkie, Lashley said he should never have signed with the now-defunct Strikeforce.
“I didn’t have to (sign with Strikeforce), and I wish I didn’t do it,” Lashley said. “I don’t think there are too many fighters who started their career and went straight to a major promotion like I did. It’s a double-edged sword. Me, coming from a wrestling background, of course, everyone wants to throw me up there because – the promoters were like, ‘If we’re going to pay you more, you’ve got to fight on a bigger stage so we can get something out of you.’”
After the loss to Griggs, Lashley would spend the next couple of years competing for different promotions. His next second and final MMA loss came against James Thompson in May 2012 at Super Fight League 3: Lashley vs. Thompson. However, Lashley would not lose against winning his next eight matches, including beating Tony Melton in November 2013 to win the Xtreme Fight Night Heavyweight Championship.
In 2014, Lashley signed with Bellator would win five matches in two years. He even got revenge on Thompson, beating in the first round at Bellator 145 in November 2015. "I want to swing for the fences and go after some of the bigger names,” Lashley said in the 2014 interview. “This is my last run, so I don’t want to make it gradual. Some of these next few fights, there's some guys I really want to get in the cage with."
Lashley's last match came in October 2016, beating Josh Appelt at Bellator 162. He returned to WWE in 2018, but according to Wrestling Inc., Lashley has a clause in his Bellator contract where if WWE offered him a contract, Bellator would put his deal on hold.