In August of this year, Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin mauled long-time welterweight contender Neil Magny to a first-round TKO. In doing so, he improved his welterweight record to a strong 4-1, and established himself as one of the division’s very best fighters – the seventh best, according to the UFC rankings.
Larkin’s defeat of Magny was significant for more reasons than the way it thrust him into the welterweight top-10, however. It also marked the final fight on his UFC contract. Having fought out his contract, the top-ranked welterweight announced his plans to test his value as a free agent.
When his contract ended, Larkin entered a three-month period during which he was not allowed to field offers from other organizations. Today, that three-month period ended, meaning he’s now free to negotiate with whomever he pleases.
Given that Larkin is a top-10 fighter on a win-streak, it’s likely that the UFC moves pretty quickly to resign him – just as they did when Alistair Overeem, Dustin Poirier and Aljamain Sterling explored free agency. There is also a distinct possibility, however, that Larkin is scooped up by another organization such as Bellator, who have recently picked up ex-UFC talents in Rory MacDonald, Chael Sonnen, Matt Mitrione, Phil Davis, and Benson Henderson.
Were Larkin to wind up on the Bellator roster, he’d actually have a plethora of exciting matchup options at his fingertips, from reigning welterweight king Douglas Lima, to former champion Andrey Koreshkov, to UFC veterans Paul Daley and Rory MacDonald, to rising talent Michael “Venom” Page.
Of course, there’s also a possibility that Larkin is picked up by an organization like One Championship, where a battle with welterweight star Ben Askren could await, or World Series of Fighting, where he could look forward to showdowns with former UFC stars like Jon Fitch and Jake Shields.
At this stage, of course, only one thing is certain: Larkin is about to enter an extremely interesting stretch of his career, as all of the world’s top MMA promotions surely have their eyes on him.
Where do you think Larkin’s free agency will take him? Sound off, PENN Nation!