Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin knows how to keep the MMA world talking. Before facing Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal last year, MMA fans talked about his tremendous upside. After the fight, which Larkin originally lost only to have it overturned to a no-contest following a post-fight positive drug test on Lawal’s part, those fans kept optimistic about his ability to improve and better himself as a fighter.

Fast forward to this week, as he prepares to come off a win over Robbie Lawler to face “Limitless” Francis Carmont this weekend at UFC on Fox 7 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. As one could expect from a UFC newcomer, Larkin will contain his excitement and let everyone know that he feels good about his chance to make a statement in the UFC.

In fact, one would not believe it at first, but while he felt good facing Lawler, he feels better coming into this fight with Carmont.

“[The fight with Lawler] was my first time cutting to 185, so I had to get used to the weight,” Larkin told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “But as far as my diet and things, everything went great.”

Larkin (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

Against Carmont, Larkin will face a fighter who many consider to be a top prospect in the division. An all-around dangerous fighter with deadly submissions, Carmont comes off a controversial split decision win over Tom Lawlor at UFC 154.

“He’s no slouch, man. He’s a beast,” Larkin said. “We know where he’s strong at, and we just have to take advantage of it.”

Obviously, wrestling will factor in as something of a strong spot for Carmont, just as it did as a strong spot for Lawal against Larkin. When it comes down to it, Larkin knows one key difference between what Lawal brought and what Carmont offers.

“Carmont won’t be on PEDs, I hope,” Larkin said, jokingly.

On a more serious note, Larkin does recognize that, PEDs or not,, Lawal still remains a decorated wrestler. Although Carmont can trains with Georges St-Pierre, Larkin feels the his upcoming opponent won’t bring a caliber of wrestling that resembles that of Lawal’s wrestling.

Still, Larkin never forgot about the day he found out about Lawal’s post-fight drug test. Always a consummate sportsman, Larkin respects his opponents and looks to do his best against each one. With that sportsmanship well documented, one may comprehend on some level why hearing about Lawal’s positive test hurt him at first.

“There’s two reasons I do this thing,” Larkin said. “One is because I love [to fight], and second, I get paid for it, so I show my sportsmanship.

“Why I think I also felt hurt about it was because, after the fight, I came up to him and congratulated him, which in my eyes I think a lot of fighters should do.”

Speaking of things fighters should do, the middleweight division will benefit from keeping one eye on Carmont’s striking. Considered a strength in Carmont’s game, due partially to his striking accuracy on the feet, Carmont’s stand-up game continues to come along nicely. Larkin will keep his eye on it and have a strategy for that which he calls “fairly decent” striking.

However, what Larkin is really focused on is exploiting his opponent’s one major weakness.

“The only real downfall I see for him is his conditioning,” Larkin said.

Of course, if the fight doesn’t end in the first, don’t worry about Larkin’s ability to fight for an extra two rounds.

Larkin (L) connects with a kick (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

“When we spar at my gym, we’re always knocking out eight [to] nine rounds,” Larkin said. “So when it comes fight time, I’m never just doing three rounds. I’m always doing more than that.”

With a victory over Carmont, many will ask themselves who Larkin will battle next. Some may speculate as to whether Luke Rockhold will want Larkin, provided Rockhold beats Vitor Belfort at UFC on Fox 8 in Brazil. Others may speculate on a different opponent.

With everything from the pressures of his UFC debut to keeping his winning streak intact weighing on him, has Larkin considered so much as even the thought of finally fighting Rockhold?

“Everything’s happened in the past, so I don’t really think about it, to tell you the truth,” he said.

After UFC on Fox 7 ends, however, Larkin will leave everything inside the cage against Carmont and look to turn heads as he faces a brand new challenge. It is guaranteed that he will strive to perform up to every ounce of potential in his fiber, even if he should face defeat.

Either way, pay attention to it, because if Larkin handles Carmont as only he can, he will leave us with nothing to talk about except for him, just as he has done in the past.

Photo: Lorenz Larkin (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.