Riverside’s Lorenz Larkin found an ideal time to reach the free-agency portion of his mixed martial arts career when he defeated welterweight Neil Magny by first-round knockout Saturday at UFC 202.
“I was able to show a lot of people what I was capable of, my worth, what I can do against top-level competition,” Larkin said of a victory set up by kicks at T-Mobile Arena.
Larkin (18-5), a 29-year-old product of Riverside Poly High School who trains in Rancho Cucamonga, has won four of his past five fights and counts a 2012 welterweight victory over former UFC champion Robbie Lawler in the Strikeforce organization on his resume.
His fight against Magny received a boost of promotion as the main bout on the UFC 202 subscription network Fight Pass, and Larkin is hopeful more attention arrives.
“Only time will tell,” he said. “I’ll know a little more in the next week or two.
“My whole thing is I need somebody who’s going to market me and pay me what I’m worth. I like to work, not just fight. I’m willing to do extra stuff [like promotion]. And if I’m healthy, I’m fighting. I never say give me a break.”
Larkin collected $78,000 for Saturday’s victory and in a week where Bellator MMA has positioned itself to bring former UFC welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald to its stable, the competition for MMA talent is warming at an ideal time.
“We will spend the money for the right guy, and there hasn’t been a free agent out there that we haven’t talked to,” Bellator MMA President Scott Coker told The Times of his Viacom-owned company Thursday, not referencing Larkin specifically.
“Of the guys we talk to, we probably sign 90% of them because we’re really good about how we treat them. They don’t have to worry about their checks.”
Larkin is UFC’s No. 9 welterweight, expected to rise past No. 7 Magny and perhaps the loser of Saturday’s Carlos Condit-Demian Maia fight on Fox in the next poll.
“There’s been so much hype on me after this win,” he said. “It was one of the biggest fights in my career. It was great and helped me out a lot.”
Larkin, who said he’s capable of fighting in the UFC’s November New York card, its Toronto card in early December or a Dec. 30 Las Vegas pay-per-view, will soon find out how much that hype translates to cash.