Lorenz Larkin definitely didn’t plan on starting his Bellator MMA career on two straight losses but he’s also not letting that get him down.
As a high profile free agency signing for Bellator last year, Larkin was anxious to jump right into the deep end of the welterweight division, which is exactly what happened as his debut fight came against Douglas Lima, who was the 170-pound champion at the time.
Larkin ended up losing that fight by decision but then hoped to bounce back with a matchup against hard-hitting British slugger Paul Daley. Unfortunately that fight also went awry with Larkin suffering a second round knockout — only the second time his career where he’s been finished.
Larkin will be the first to admit that it was tough getting past both of those losses, but the best way to move forward is to forget about the past and that’s exactly what he’s done while getting ready to face Fernando Gonzalez this weekend at Bellator 193.
“Don’t get me wrong, right after [the loss] I’m still thinking about it but once I’m in the training camp for the next fight, it’s out of my head,” Larkin explained when speaking to MMAWeekly. “I’m just training. I don’t ride horses but that’s what they say with people who ride horses. You get bucked off, you can’t wait for a long time to jump back on the horse and do it again. That’s kind of my outlook on this whole fight game. Cause I’ve had a bad little string of fights in the past and I did the same thing. I just kept at it.
“Eventually I will get through it and keep moving on. That’s how I’ve always looked at it.”
Being able to leave the past in the past has helped Larkin through bad patches in his career previously so he has no reason to believe the same won’t apply when he steps into his main event fight on Friday night.
Of course, Larkin acknowledges that expectations on him were higher after joining the Bellator roster from the UFC but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Larkin appreciates those fans who looked at him as a future welterweight champion because that’s how he sees himself as well and he has no plans to forgo that goal thanks to a couple of losses.
“That’s what’s so great about the MMA fans that are out there. Don’t get me wrong, you do have some stupid ass fans but the majority of them really know the sport. It’s surprising at times how knowledgeable they are of the sport. They’ll tell me s–t and I’ll be like damn, what do you do for work? They’re real knowledgeable of the sport,” Larkin said.
“Even when it came to me dropping down [weight classes]. They were telling me ‘you’d be so great if you just dropped down’ and at the time I was just hard headed but it’s crazy. They know a lot of stuff.”
For this fight, Larkin isn’t taking a step down in competition for his first Bellator main event as Gonzalez has been a proven veteran, who has faced a laundry list of tough opponents over the years.
Perhaps the most dangerous part about a fighter like Gonzalez is that most people aren’t expected him to win, which takes a lot of pressure off his shoulders when it comes time to perform. In other words, Larkin knows he can’t sleep on Gonzalez or he’ll pay for it with a third straight loss.
“With Fernando, he doesn’t have that name but he’s tough as s–t. He’s a dark horse in our division,” Larkin said. “He just hasn’t got the name out there yet. He’s a tough ass guy. He’s real durable and that’s why he’s getting these wins. He’s a vet. He had a bunch of fights. You can’t underestimate him. When guys underestimate him that’s when he takes advantage of it.
“If I’m in a fight with somebody, especially in MMA, anything can happen.”
Much like his ability to put losses in the past, Larkin isn’t looking at this fight as a must-win situation but instead he prefers to look at it as there is no other option.
Larkin wants to win and Gonzalez is just the unlucky opponent who drew his name out of the hat.
“I don’t really put any pressure on it. Just go in there and do what I’m supposed to do,” Larkin said. “Don’t rush anything and just be safe out there and the win will come. My opportunities will show themselves. Just go in there and fight my game and if I’m able to just carve him up like that, more brownie points for me. I’m going in there to win.”