When he steps off the plane for the location of his fight, Lorenz Larkin likes to be at a certain weight. Two hundred pounds or below and all is good for the middleweight.
Earlier this week, he and his team landed in San Jose and the fighter was right on track, weighing 198, according to his head/stand-up coach, Arnold “Irish” DeWitt.
Larkin flew to San Jose for his UFC debut, which takes place this Saturday at UFC on Fox 7 against Francis Carmont. Like a number of other UFC fighters, Larkin is coming to the organization from Strikeforce, which had its final show in January. Fighters from that promotion have had fairly decent results since coming over the premier MMA league. On Saturday, Larkin will look to continue to prove that Strikeforce wasn’t as minor-league as everyone made it to be.
“For any type of fighter, no matter who it is, their dream is to be in the big show,” Larkin said. “I was content with Strikeforce because it was a big show. And obviously … we’ve been doing good. We showed that we’re not a feeder league.”
Larkin prepared for this moment in his Rancho Cucamonga gym, Millennia MMA, with more than just training partners; he keeps his friends close, too. Jonathan Wilson, a light heavyweight amateur fighter and close friend of Larkin’s, throws punches with ill intentions when the two spar. But with every blow Larkin takes from his buddy, he grows in toughness, and also helps his friend prepare for the what will soon be a professional MMA career.
Others in Larkin’s camp, like William Richey, provide him with various types of opponents. Richey is a heavyweight that regularly spars with Larkin, and he said the variation in weight helps the former Strikeforce fighter prepare for the big fights destined to happen in the UFC.
“We’re all coming with different techniques,” said Richey. “(It) keeps a fresh body on him.”
It’s things like these that help to make Larkin prepare for biggest step up in competition that he’s seen since beginning his MMA career. He never really thought about making it to the UFC when he first started training, he said. But now that he’s about to make his debut with the promotion, Larkin sees how more eyes are beginning to watch him.
“Before I got with Strikeforce, I was nobody,” Larkin explained. “Sometimes it trips me out that I’m even in the UFC.”
Larkin compared the journey to that of a kid playing football. He started in pop warner, was good enough to play college ball, then made it to the National Football League. It wasn’t planned that way, but Larkin isn’t complaining.
“To finally make it there after all those years,” he said. “It’s a cool feeling.”
All that’s left to do now is cut off that last 12 pounds to get down to the middleweight limit. A day of cutting weight and eating healthy will soon be followed by a cage fight where he’ll look to prove that the gap between UFC and Strikeforce fighters is much smaller than previously thought.
“For us, coming from Strikeforce, we watched a lot of the other … fighters come out and do really well,” DeWitt said. “So like all the other Strikeforce guys, we want to come in and show … that as far as the level fighters that were in Strikeforce, there isn’t a big a gap as people thought.”