Drawing Card: An MMAmania exclusive interview with Strikeforce light heavyweight Lorenz Larkin

Photo by Esther Lin via Showtime Sports

It certainly didn't take Lorenz Larkin long to jump to the top of many prospect lists.

In just the third fight into his Strikeforce career, "The Monsoon" has vaulted from late injury replacement to main event attraction. 

The 24-year-old Larkin has always been entertaining, whether it was his seven fight knockout streak (in less than a year), his "Rampage" Jackson- esque slam at Respect in the Cage or the recent striking clinic he performed against the bigger, stronger Gian Villante this past June.

Expect fireworks when Larkin competes.

The proud Riverside, Calif., native is set to headline the upcoming Strikeforce Challengers 19 event in just over three weeks (Sept. 23, 2011) against Team Quest's Virgil Zwicker in what promises to be yet another thriller.

Larkin spoke with MMAmania.com during a guest appearance on The Verbal Submission this past weekend. He discussed his upcoming fight, what inspires him and even Anderson Silva.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It was recently announced that you're fighting Virgil Zwicker in the headlining bout of Strikeforce Challengers 19. This is your third fight in Strikeforce and you're already headlining an event. How does it feel to be that main card guy that's carrying the show?

Lorenz Larkin: It's crazy. It's kinda like surreal because I never thought I'd be the main event so I guess I'm doing something right (laughs). I'm pumped up. It's a lot of good pressure and there's a lot of bad pressure. It's not supposed to feel easy so I'm just happy for it and I'm glad that it happened this way.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): As a main event fighter, do you feel any pressure to help hype up a show?

Lorenz Larkin: No, not really. It's not really my style and I don't ever see myself doing none of that kind of stuff. I would rather me hype up a fight just by my style alone, just people tuning in to watch me put on exciting fights. Don't get me wrong, it's a part of fight, just like it's a part of boxing, but it's not me. I would rather just pump it up by putting proof in the pudding. My other fights are exciting and that's what you're gonna get and you will for sure get that in my main event. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): About your upcoming fight with Virgil Zwicker, I've got to ask, you spent some time in your last training camp in Temecula training at Team Quest with Dan Henderson and those guys. Virgil trains there. Is it kind of awkward now that you're facing one of their top guys?

Lorenz Larkin: Yeah, I spent some time. I was helping Dan get ready for the Fedor fight, I was giving him some work. Yeah, in the beginning it was kind of like I told the matchmaker which is Sean Shelby, I told him, "I don't know," because they threw the name at me. It was kinda weird because we were training and I don't want to burn any bridges and it was kinda up in the air whether I'd take the fight or not because I didn't want to be that guy that comes into somebody's gym and all of the sudden is fighting their guys but they were real adamant about taking the fight against me. Then I was like, "Oh, well ok, I guess if they're really adamant then I'll take it." Yeah, it's a little weird to me and it's the first time that it's happened to me but if they really want to take the fight I'm not gonna turn it down. It was weird but now we've both signed the contracts. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): So what are you going to do? I know you've got your own gym but for your last fight you went and branched out a bit at Team Quest. Are you gonna be branching out again for this fight? I would assume that you're not gonna be doing it at Team Quest this time around.

Lorenz Larkin: Oh no, not this time. I've been cross-training at a couple different gyms. One of the main gyms I cross-train at is Millennia MMA. It's out in Rancho Cucamonga, California. They've had guys like Javier Velazquez and guys from back in the WEC days. I've been training hard and this camp is gonna be just as good as the last camp. No different. 

Ben Thapa: How often would you like to fight versus train? Would you prefer a GSP-style of two fights a year? Or would you prefer like earlier in your career when you were fighting every month or every other month?

Lorenz Larkin: If I'm healthy, I would like to fight every month. Just keeps me busy. At one point when I was pro, I had like a seven month layoff from my first fight and that just killed me. I won but my timing was off and the ring rust and that's too much time for me. I would never want to fight just two times a year. I will always like to fight once a month of it not that, once every two months. I don't like big layoffs at all. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): When you went to Team Quest, did you train with Virgil? Did you spar with him at all?

Lorenz Larkin: We moved around a little bit. We never sparred full on so that was a good thing. We kinda just moved around. He didn't really show me nothin'. The only person I really went with hard was Dan in that type of intensity because he was getting ready for his fight. Other than that, I didn't hard spar nobody so it was good. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Is it true that Dan Henderson has a giant picture of him knocking out Michael Bisping on his wall in the gym?

Lorenz Larkin: Oh yeah, it's right when you walk in through the door. It's right behind the counter, the register. It's a nice pic. It's him doing that flying elbow coming down on him. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): So what do you know about Virgil Zwicker? He's had mixed success in the Strikeforce light heavyweight division. What are you expecting when you get in there with him?

Lorenz Larkin: I'm expecting him to bring it. He was a top prospect at one time and he has a lot of hype about him. I think I'm at where he was at. I'm that tree to chop down to get him back into the spotlight, start showcasing some good talent that he has. I'm just ready for him to bring a good fight and I'm just gonna treat it like any other fight. If he wants to get that W, he's gonna have to kill me. That's how I treat every fight, like this is my last. I always fight my heart out. If he was to take that W, it was because he beat me all around to the point where I just can't walk out of the cage. I'm gonna give it everything I have and train hard and be ready for September 23rd. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I've got to get your thoughts on Anderson Silva fighting Yushin Okami. I wouldn't say you're Anderson Silva level, but you're an incredibly exciting striker. What did you think of Anderson's performance against Okami?

Lorenz Larkin: It was good. It's funny how he sets up everything and some people think he's just being cocky and he has his antics but there's a science behind it. If you study it, you kinda see him set it up so it's fun to watch. It's always exciting fights and no offense to Okami but I knew he had no shot. 

Gerry Rodriguez: We've heard some comments that it's time for Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva. Do you think that GSP would be able to take him down and have his way with Anderson Silva? How do you see that playing out?

Lorenz Larkin: I see that fight panning out real bad. I see him hurting GSP. GSP man, I like him, he's a great fighter, but I think Anderson has that ability to tear him apart standing up and I feel like strikers have the better advantage over wrestlers because if you can keep punches on a wrestler, you can see the shot coming. That's when shots get sloppy. That's just my opinion. I don't see St. Pierre as aggressive as Chael Sonnen and not that type of wild takedown. I see him picking GSP apart. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Who inspires you? It doesn't have to be in MMA. I'm just very interested in who you draw inspiration from for your fight career.

Lorenz Larkin: You know, it's just watching any type of fight. Mostly old boxing fights. The whole old-school thing, they were just gladiators. Watching Mike Tyson, watching Roy Jones, watching Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, David Tua. That's the thing that inspires me the most. Those guys were just killers and it wasn't so much about the politics back then. That's what makes me excited about fighting. These guys were just training their asses off and then coming into the ring and letting it all loose. That's why, at that time, boxing was so exciting. That's what inspires me the most, that and my parents. My parents are behind me 100% and just loving what I do. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Before we let you go, we've got to ask, how do you see the Strikeforce Challengers 19 main event playing out against Virgil Zwicker?

Lorenz Larkin: Hopefully, I take the win (laughs). I just see myself going in there with a one-track mind and that's just to win. Me putting on exciting shows, that's just a part of me because I'm always going to put that on and give the fans a good show. They'll remember that fight for a long time. I want to put on something that a lot of people remember and give people what they paid for. 

Lorenz would like to thank Splat Hair Colors, ion•Me, Hostility Clothing, Extreme Auto Works, Cali Life, Icon MMA and everyone that supports him. Also check out his twitter @da_MONSOON.

So what do you think, Maniacs? Is Larkin on the fast track to MMA stardom? How do you think "The Monsoon" fares against increasingly more difficult foes?

Sound off!

To listen to the full audio of our interview with Lorenz Larkin click here.

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