Lorenz Larkin (left) is a blue-chip light heavyweight prospect. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood
Lorenz Larkin personifies firepower: a powerful blur of knees, feet, fists and elbows. Unbeaten in 11 professional appearances, the 25-year-old Riverside, Calif., native has delivered eight of those wins by knockout or technical knockout, six of them inside one round. In no time, he has made himself a presence at 205 pounds.
Larkin will make his third appearance under the Strikeforce banner when he meets Jeremy Horn protégé Nick Rossborough in the Strikeforce Challengers 19 main event on Friday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The show will air at 11 p.m. ET on Showtime, delayed on the West Coast.
In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, Larkin discusses his motivation to improve, his hard-fought decision victory over former Ring of Combat champion Gian Villante at Strikeforce Challengers 16 in June, the difficulties Rossborough poses as an opponent and the weight of headlining a Strikeforce event for the first time.
Sherdog.com: You have obviously worked hard to get where you are at. Now that you have succeeded at this level, do you feel that you have to work that much harder to get to the next one?
Larkin: Yeah, I feel I have to constantly keep growing and evolving as a fighter.
Sherdog.com: What motivates you to want to keep improving?
Larkin: Me wanting to do good for everyone that has gotten behind me and supported me when I wasn’t on TV and in Strikeforce; just to be the best and to fight the best.
Sherdog.com: How do you feel about the position the Strikeforce promotion is in following the sale to Ultimate Fighting Championship parent company Zuffa LLC?
Larkin: I really don’t feel nothing at all. I’m just focused on me and on my fighting. To be honest, I don’t want to allow myself to get caught up in that. At the end of the day, I just gotta keep winning and the rest will work itself out.
Sherdog.com: As a fighter signed to Strikeforce, do you feel like it is only a matter of time before it is swallowed into the UFC?
Larkin: I don’t know at this point. I can’t control what they decide to do, so I’m not going to worry about nothing but winning my fights.
Sherdog.com: What do you know about your opponent at Strikeforce Challengers 19?
Larkin: He’s tall at 6-foot-5. He has only been knocked out one time out of all his fights, so I expect a tough fight. Coming in on short notice and never fighting on a big show, he has a lot to gain from this win so I am taking this guy very seriously.
Sherdog.com: If you were writing the script, how would this fight play out?
Larkin: My hand raised at the end from an explosive knockout.
Sherdog.com: What did you learn from your last fight with Gian Villante?
Larkin: I mean, I always watch the fight back and my coaches watch it, as well, and we go over how to improve, but I learned how good my training is. I went all three rounds. I felt strong. I didn’t feel tired at all. I am constantly in the gym. I was back in [training] that Monday after my fight, and I am always working on every part of my game. I just want to get better and better with each fight.
Sherdog.com: Where all have you trained for this fight?
Larkin: Of course, I have been training at my home gym in Riverside, Calif., at Icon MMA. I also have been cross-training and sparring with all the guys at [the] Millennia MMA [Training Center] with Romie Aram. We’ve been in Las Vegas since Friday, so I appreciate the gyms that have been showing me hospitality and letting me train at their facilities: the Tapout [Training Center], Frank Mir’s Suffer [MMA] and [Robert] Drysdale; special thanks to Xtreme Couture [Mixed Martial Arts], which charged me $25 to train at their gym for an hour and a half. I really appreciated that.
Sherdog.com: Is it important for you to graduate from the Strikeforce Challengers series and move onto the main card of a big show, or are you content to take the opportunities as they come?
Larkin: That’s all I am gonna do. It’s about one fight at a time. The big show is gonna come as long as I keep winning, so I have to continue to improve as a fighter and take one fight at a time.
Sherdog.com: How big a deal is it for you to be in the main event?
Larkin: It’s a huge deal for me. It’s kind of surreal in a way. I only fought for them two times, and, in the third fight, I’m in a main event, so, to me, [it says] I must be doing something right. I’m putting on a good show for the organization and, most importantly, for the fans.