by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy UFC)

It’s hard to imagine someone being 20-1, having fought in the UFC, and still be under the radar, but that’s what seems to be happening in the case of welterweight Brock Larson.

Despite solid performances each time out, showcasing his excellent grappling skills, Larson remains something of a mystery to the mainstream MMA community, but that could soon be changing.

After a year that saw him go 7-0, finishing all but one opponent, and continued growth as a complete fighter, Brock seems to be on the cusp of a breakout year in 2007 as he looks to take on all comers and prove to everyone that he belongs right up with some of the most recognizable names in the division.

This past Wednesday, Larson capped his year by defeating Keita Nakamura at UFC Fight Night in San Diego, California. While he’s happy he got the win, Larson feels he could have done better.

“The fight went good,” said Brock. “I didn’t quite perform as well as I could have, of course. I got a little gassed and whatnot, but I did what I wanted to do. I wanted to control the fight and take him down and control him wherever I wanted to put him and I did that. I struggled at times, but at the end I got him where I wanted him.”

Larson feels that a combination of a hectic few months and taking the fight on short notice could have contributed to a performance he feels can be improved upon, but regardless circumstances, he takes full responsibility for his output in the octagon.

“We had a lot of going on with everything, Thanksgiving, family stuff, and then the school that I train at flooded…so there’s lots of things that went down,” explained Brock. “I couldn’t train the way I wanted to, with other priorities going on and stuff, but again, that’s no excuse. I took the fight knowing all the things were on board and I did what was dealt to me and I just played it out.”

Larson continued, “I hate to blame anything, but I think it [taking the fight on short notice] might had a little bit to do with it. I took the fight so it’s my fault – my responsibility – to get in shape. Cutting thirty pounds in two-and-a-half weeks was quite a bit, but I should have been able to handle him a bit better than I did, so it might have had something to do with it.”

Overall, Brock feels pleased with how things have gone for him in 2006, but as is always the case with hungry fighters, he feels there’s more work to be done.

Larson exclaimed, “I’ve got great teammates and I train hard. I’m happy where I’m at, but there’s always room for improvement. I think I’m going to give it a B+ for where I’m at right now.”

“I’ve been working a lot on my stand-up, my punching. My grappling is where it’s at. It’s pretty good, and so I’m going to take a little time off that and work on my hands a little bit more, my footwork, and my timing. I want to get better with my hands so I can throw a couple punches and hurt people on my feet because basically it makes everything easier,” added Brock.

After having worked his way through the regional fight circuits, Larson hopes that the coming year will yield bigger and better things such as a return to the UFC and matches against name opponents, such as those who were on Wednesday’s card with him.

“I’d like to get another UFC fight in and get another win, of course,” commented Brock. “I want to fight some guys, whoever they throw at me, and see how I do, basically. I think if I can cut weight and do everything right, I’m strong enough, quick enough, and just as talented as a lot of people in the 170-pound division. I know there’s a few guys are above me at a level, but for the most part I think I’m right with the majority of 170-pounders.”

Larson further said, “I think I’m pretty good against anyone out there such as a Shonie Carter. Joe Riggs would be an interesting match for me as well. I think I’m about there, about at a Riggs level, so I think any of those guys would be a great fight for me. [I’ll fight] anyone that people respect and know, a name, so I can let guys know I’m right there with them, win or lose.”

If given the opportunity to take on better known opposition, next year could very well be the year that Brock himself becomes a name fighter.

As always however, regardless of status in the community, Larson is thankful to those who’ve helped and supported him and wants to let fans know that it’s only going to get better from here on out.

“I like to thank my sponsors, Warrior Wear, American Fighter and Felon Fight Wear,” concluded Brock. “I’d like to thank David Camarillo at the AKA…my school in Braynard, the Koumei Dojo…and the Universal Martial Arts Academy, Sean Sherk and all those guys out there. Thanks to all the Braynard fans, and fans in general, that have supported me this year. Hopefully we’re going to have big things in store next year, so keep an eye out and we’ll turn some heads.”