Lorenz Larkin will make his UFC debut against Francis Carmont at UFC on Fox 7 on April 20th. Larkin is one of the most exciting fighters to make the move from Strikeforce to the UFC following their January folding, with a diverse striking arsenal of unorthodox kicks and striking techniques.
He holds wins over current light heavyweight Gian Villante and longtime welterweight and middleweight vet Robbie Lawler. He's recently moved from light heavyweight to middleweight and sat down with Bloody Elbow to talk about his hopes for his next fight, and the path he's trod to get there.
We've been seeing lately, that a lot of people have been going to the Ultimate Fighter. It seems like you've taken the tougher route, to fight and win your way to the UFC.
I gave it one shot man. I tried out for The Ultimate Fighter. It was a while ago; that was back when they had the 185 and the 205. I tried out and I didn't make it, and a guy I knocked out in my pro debut... I knocked him out in like 40 seconds or something like that, and he made it through and I didn't. So after that I had a sour taste, I was just like "I'm just gonna do it the right way and just win the fights and get called up."
Are you happy with the way things have gone in your career so far?
Yeah, I'm happy how everything played out. I got a lot of good experience from my career and I'm still learning. So the way I took it is the best way for me.
You're fighting Francis Carmont. How do you think he's going to deal with your striking, do you think he's going to take the GSP route and just lay on you?
I'm not too sure. I expect that if things doesn't go his way on the striking aspect, that he's gonna take it to the things that he's been working on. I'm not putting it past him, but that's why I've been training and had a good camp and been working on the things that I think he might go to if things don't go his way.
He may already have the victory with his body, but you're gonna win on the hair and in the fight, right?
Just like I always say, six packs are overrated. I got a body built for fighting. I'm a test tube baby; I was bred for this stuff. Bodies are just for looks.
You're making your debut, are you going to be worried about the UFC jitters?
I'm just gonna do me. The only thing I see that's different, maybe if I wasn't in Strikeforce, but the only difference to me is the crowd. The crowd, when I experienced the Rousey and Carmouche fight was my first UFC event attending to, and the crowd was just more livlier. A guy got punched and the whole stadium just roared; it was totally different from a Strikeforce fight.
Will it be better to be on the FX card? Maybe it won't be as crazy an atmosphere.
The thing is, I always have jitters walking into the cage. I think that if any fighter says that he's not... he doesn't have butterflies before he gets in the cage, then he's a liar. I always have worries, but I think it makes me fight better. I think it's one of those... you think, somebody against the wall, that's scared, they're only gonna fight better. I think it all just depends on what type of fighter can harness the jitters and make do with it.
When do the jitters switch off? A lot of guys we've spoken to... Brandon Vera, Paul Buentello, before a fight they puke their guts out. When does that go away?
I haven't puked yet. To me it's the little things. Right before you walk out, you got guys, like stage coordinators or whatever, or just coordinators for the event, just running back and forth tellin you "Larkin you got two minutes, two minutes. Larkin 1 minute. You guys ready, you guys ready." and things like that. But once when the bell rings, I think after that first 40 seconds, then I'm just loose and I'm just right at home.
So, you're saying the hardest part is getting to the cage?
That's the hardest part, all the pre-things that happen right before you get in the cage. I mean as far as my outlook on it.
Do you think that Carmont's going to be able to deal with your pressure and your kickboxing? That's where I think you'll have the advantage.
You know, I would hope so. I've just been working hard, man. And I had a good camp this time. I had a lot of preparation. I'm ready to get in there, I haven't fought since July, I'm just anxious to get in there and just fight.
If you win quickly do want to start making a habit of fighting three or four times a year?
Four times a year would be great for me. Right now I'm used to two times a year, which is horrible for me. Because, I'm so used to... before I got in the big show I was fighting like every month, or every two months, I was staying active. To fight two times a year is like, ugh, it's horrible for me. Nobody likes me, my girlfriend hates me. I get grumpy.
Does that weigh heavily on you? You fought seven times in 2010, then you got signed by Strikeforce and suddenly they had a show every other month and you might not be on it. Does that drive you nuts?
It drives me nuts man, I'm telling you. Yeah, it drives me nuts. There would be sparring sessions, where guys would be like "Dude, what's up with you." and I'd be like "Ahh man, I'm sorry dude." I just have to take it out sometimes. You know what I mean.
You have fought at 205, did you do that just to stay busy?
No, when I was fighting at 205... I fought amateur at heavyweight, so the next thing down was 205, so then I decided to go pro at 205. I did good with it, so I just stuck with it. I've heard it my whole career "You need to go down to 185." But, I was doin' good, so I was like "Don't break it if it's not... I mean don't fix it if it's not broke." But as I got up in the higher ranks, the guys start getting bigger and bigger and taller. So that was the next decision, was to go to middleweight.
When you fought Mo, could you feel a big strength difference?
Yeah, I felt a lot of strength difference. We were the same height, or not the same height, but I think he was like 6 foot, but that's cool for me. But his strength was a totally different aspect... I don't know, I don't really want to talk about strength because I don't know. I don't know what his strength is, I don't know if he was strong that night, or if he's usually like that. So I don't know.
Are you going to be looking for a fight of the night bonus?
I don't know man. I just think that if I fight how I've been fighting... for me I've gotten my fans just from the way I've been fighting. It's just an exciting style to watch. I think, as long as I fight the same way I've been fighting, hopefully I get some type of fight of the night or knockout bonus, that'd be great.
That's a lot of money, if you got that bonus would you go out and get a Bently, or would you put it in the bank and get back to fighting?
Heck nah man, If I win that bonus I'm goin' to TJ, I'm movin'. I'm movin' to Mexico. No... I really want to get a house, so I want to hurry up while I'm in the sport and get something paid off. That's my dream, get these fights in and pay off the house, and then go from there.
Guys are getting better a lot younger, and you're still a few years from your peak, it's exciting to watch the progression.
It's exciting to watch. 'Cuz I still watch when I just started fighting and up to now, and it's cool to see the progression, from fight to fight to fight.
Follow Larkin on Twitter: @da_MONSOON