Welterweight Lorenz Larkin has not fought since knocking out Neil Magny on August 20, 2016 at UFC 202. After a long free agency period, Larkin landed at Bellator MMA. He discussed the move during a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour.
“I was hoping, at the most, two months and then I would be able to figure out my future, but I guess it all happens for a reason,” said Larkin, as transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting. “I made the right decision. I’m content with myself mentally about everything and I feel good about it. I didn’t feel like I just did something because I had to. I felt like I had options and it went good.”
“I had a [UFC] deal on the table, and it just didn’t feel right. My whole reasoning for testing free agency was to see what I was worth and get somebody behind me. I want to feel like an asset to a promotion, and I want to feel like the promotion wants to really drive me and really use me. I’ve made this point a lot of times that I’m ready to work. Anything you can use me for, let me know. I’m here. And it just wasn’t happening for me, so I don’t know if it was just the timing or, just, there was no interest in that. But that’s a big thing that I was focused on.”
“I didn’t even get an offer from [the UFC] until maybe two-and-a-half weeks ago, something like that, maybe a little bit more.
“I felt like, personally, it was just kinda a take it or leave it and that’s it. To me, there was no welcoming. It was just like, it is what it is; if not, then okay. And that’s what I felt like. I’m not in this sport just to take whatever. I feel like I’ve fought my way to where I’m at now and it’s just one of those things where it can’t be like that. I can’t just be one superpower and that’s it. And luckily I’m in this sport at a time where it’s starting to not be like that anymore.
“I was just able to talk to Scott [Coker], me and him on the phone, and we worked out something within, I don’t know, 40 minutes, man.”
Larkin says his Bellator contract pays more than his old UFC deal, and that he is happy to be working with the Coker matchmaker Rich Chou duo that he fought for in Strikeforce.
“I’m happy, man,” he said. “Everything has just been welcoming. With me, it’s more about the respect, type of thing. Just a big thing for me — and it’s not really a big deal, but it is for me, for me and who I am — when [Bellator] released the story [of my signing], they wanted to make it a big deal that the Riverside press released it first. And that just says a lot. It shows that they’re worried about what I care about, and that was a big thing for me. I really respected that and it really meant a lot, even though it’s something small. But just for them to do that, just from the get-go, it says a lot to me.
“Don’t get me wrong, every fighter should say a big part of this is about the money, because that’s what we fight for. But a lot of it, for me, is respect too, and it’s the understanding that a promotion wants me there. I don’t want to just be among a bunch of people who, they just, who cares about them. I’d rather fight for somebody who really wants me there and who really is excited to see what we can do together.”
The next question, of course, is who is next?
“I don’t know, to be honest with you, who I was thinking about fighting for the debut,” said Larkin. “I know that the top guys that in 170 that are making some noise are MVP, they have Daley, they’ve got Rory, Lima, he’s the champion, and Brennan Ward. So, I know there’s some tough guys in there, but to tell you the truth, man, I really don’t care who they put me against. I just want to fight, man, and just get this whole journey started.”