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Lorenz Larkin on free agency: ‘If fighters fight in the UFC just to say I’m a UFC fighter, that’s stupid’

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UFC 202 Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Lorenz Larkin had one fight left in his deal with the UFC when he was offered a fight against Neil Magny at UFC 202 in August. The promotion reached out to him before the bout to try and re-sign him, but the California-native calls the offer a “slap in the face.” Three months have passed since his win, and he’s still yet to sign a new contract.

“I’m kind of disappointed when it comes to the whole side of the UFC because it’s such a long waiting period, especially when everything first happened, the way it came to me (about) re-signing a new deal before my Magny fight,” Larkin told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I just thought the offer they threw at me was kind of a slap in the face and I didn’t want to agree to that.

“So we were like ‘ok, just fight your last fight of the contract,’ and I felt like that was a slap in the face because I kind of felt like they are betting against me, you know what I mean? It was just kind of like, ‘Magny is on a tear, he’s the beast and his accomplishments speak for itself,’ and I felt like the UFC was like ‘he’ll take this fight, he probably won’t get past Magny, and then we’ll re-sign him.’”

Larkin admits he felt “really good” proving the UFC wrong and knocking Magny out in the first round at UFC 202, but was surprised that the promotion hasn’t reached out to make any offer since the bout. Larkin says he knows there’s interest, but thought he would have signed a deal by now.

After being forced to sit for three months before testing free agency and getting offers from other promotions, Larkin says the whole situation involving free agency benefits the UFC.

“I try to look at everything from a fighter’s aspect and from a business aspect, and from a business’s aspect, I get it,” Larkin said of the three-month period before talking to other companies. “There are not too many guys that wanna wait three months and they just accept whatever is thrown at him. So that three months, I felt that those three months puts in you that mode that you don’t really wanna wait. You just kind of wanna get things settled and go with the flow, go with it. That three months thing is tailored towards them.”

“I know they are very interested,” he said of the UFC. “I think things since my fight have been really chaotic with the UFC, with everything that’s happened. I’m pretty sure I’ll know something within a week or so. I’m hoping for.”

Before joining the UFC in 2013, Larkin racked up an impressive 4-0 record with one no-contest as a middleweight and light heavyweight in Strikeforce, capped off by a win over Robbie Lawler, and reveled that his managers contacted former Strikeforce head Scott Coker, who now runs Bellator.

“My management spoke with Bellator and they are very interested in talking with me,” he said. “That’s a good thing. And I know RIZIN is interested, too. I feel like there’s interest there.”

With four fights in his past five bouts, including three knockout finishes, Larkin will go wherever the best offer is instead of just staying in the UFC regardless.

“If the promotion doesn’t believe in me, then what’s the point?” he says. “I’m kind of seasoned now. It’s not the thing I just want to be cool and tell people I fight in the UFC. That doesn’t do anything for me. Every fighter, they want a promotion to believe in them and believe they can do something and maybe put a little push behind you. I understand I won’t get pushed with everybody, but I feel like I have talent, I’m a fan-favorite to watch, I have an exciting style, I’m not boring in the cage, so my whole thing is, ‘use it.’

“I don’t wanna just fight. I’m not saying I wanna commentate or something like that, but use me, market me, just stuff like that. I’m under contract, put me to work. I’m not scared to work, you know? Any promotion, it doesn’t have anything to do with the name. If fighters fight in the UFC just to say I’m a UFC fighter, that’s stupid.”

Larkin says the plan is to sign a contract soon, and he’s confident he will get a good one.

“I think I’m gonna get what I’m happy with,” Larkin said. “I have all the tools for anything that makes sense. I feel like I’m exciting, I feel like I bring it every time I get in there, and in a style that people like to see. I feel like I have the tools that argue with the point I’m trying to make.”