by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
On June 3rd when World Extreme Cagefighting made its debut on the Versus Network, one fighter perhaps more than any other was looking to make a statement, Brock Larson.
Larson’s previous television exposure in the Ultimate Fighting Championship had not gone as well as he had hoped; losing his first ever bout to John Fitch at Ultimate Fight Night 2. He followed that up, by all accounts, with an uninspired decision victory over Keita Nakamura at Ultimate Fight Night 8.
So when Brock joined the WEC earlier this year, he made it his first order of business to show everyone why he had dominated the Midwest fight circuit at 170 pounds.
After an impressive three-minute beating of Erik Apple in March for the WEC, Larson was scheduled to face off against the promotion’s Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit on Versus, but it was not to be.
With Condit out of the match-up due to shoulder injury, Brock knew he had to step up and keep his spot as the promotion’s top contender at 170 pounds, as well as shed any negative preconceptions people had of him on his previous television appearances in the UFC.
And he did just that, obliterating Condit’s replacement, Kevin Knabjian, in just 27 seconds, further cementing himself as one of the WEC’s premier fighters at any weight class.
“Well, it was short and sweet,” commented Larson of his win over Knabjian. “The gameplan was to throw a little bit of leather and go for the takedown. I hit him quickly and the left hand landed pretty solid; it went downhill for him after that.”
“I’ll take a TKO at 27 seconds any day,” continued Brock with a chuckle.
When asked if Larson felt his performance on live television against Kevin provided any vindication for his previous efforts on a national stage, Brock replied, “Yeah, I do think it does.”
Larson continued, “With the [Keita] Nakamura fight, I took it on short notice and didn’t show everybody what I could to. Training full time and getting this opportunity in the WEC, people will get to see what a difference it makes.”
At the same time as being happy about his win earlier this month, Brock was unhappy by the fact he didn’t get to face his original opponent, Carlos Condit. As Larson points out, however, that match-up will happen, sooner rather than later.
“It was a letdown,” explained Brock. “I trained pretty hard for that fight and I wanted a shot at the title, of course. I’ve got another opportunity for that fight in August, so I’ll just get ready to do it again.”
Larson’s challenge of Condit’s title has been resigned for August 5th at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
With two impressive performances in the WEC, Larson knows that there will be high expectations for him in future events, and he relishes the fact.
“That’s what I’m hoping for. I want people to expect the best,” commented Brock. “I want to be the guy that cleans house in the WEC 170-pound division and let everybody know that I’m the guy to beat after I win that title.”
“And nobody is going to win and get that title from me,” added Larson.
Regardless of where he finds himself now and the upcoming opportunities he has, Brock is keen to point out that there’s still some work to be done and that he can always get better.
“I still have to work on my hands, my footwork, and my grappling,” explained Larson. “I’m a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu, but I want to be a black belt, be the best in every aspect [of my game] and be the kind of seasoned guy who’s not afraid to throw hands with anybody.”
The conversation then turned towards another MMA fighting Brock from Minnesota, recently debuted K-1 fighter and former WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar.
“I train with him and I think he’s awesome,” exclaimed Larson. “He’s a great fighter, but I think he needs to get into a real show, a mainstream fighter organization, and show people what he can really do.”
Brock further stated, “Show people that he’s a real athlete and not just a ‘freak,’ that he can be a seasoned fighter. He’s talented, and when he gets into one of these shows, people really will appreciate him as a true fighter.”
Even with Lesnar’s heavyweight size and intimidating ring manner, the 170-pound Larson isn’t afraid to jokingly rib the MMA newcomer.
“I tell him all the time that he’s the mini-me,” quipped Brock with a laugh.
With recent impressive performances in the WEC, national television exposure and a welterweight championship fight on the horizon, things are looking good for the hard-working Larson.
He urges everyone to keep their eye out for him and the rest of what could very well become MMA’s version of the famed Minnesota Wrecking Crew over the coming year.
“I want to thank all the guys at Koumie Dojo in Brainerd; Revolution Jiu-Jitsu; Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, and all my training partners,” said Brock. “Thanks to Warrior Wear; Dominance Fight Gear, and all the sponsors I have, I couldn’t do it without them; and MMAWeekly.”
Larson closed out, “Tune into Versus on August 5th, I’ll be fighting for the title. It’s going to be mine, and I’m going to bring it home to Minnesota and it will be the third world title we have at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. Sean Sherk, Nick Thompson, and Brock Larson are going to be the three Minnesota world champions.”