Another Brock in the cage
Story by Andreas Hale
Photo: Chris Cozzone
There’s another guy named Brock in the UFC who just happens to be from Minnesota. He’s not a physical freak like the brute who shares his first name and hometown. But this Brock is just as vicious and has had a stellar MMA career thus far. Out of his 24 wins, this Brock’s hitlist includes the likes of Carlo Prater, Ryan Jensen, Keita Nakamura and others. This Brock is no slouch. As a matter of fact, Brock Larson may be the future of the 175-pound division.
“It feels good to be back in the big show,” Larson says as he prepares for his fight against Jesse Sanders on the undercard of April 1st’s UFC Fight Night. “It’s the biggest and best show in the world. I really enjoyed the WEC and the exposure it gave me but it’s good to fight in the UFC again.”
When he steps into the Octagon against Sanders, Larson will attack his opponent with the same fury that has seen his last 10 wins all come in the first stanza.
“(I don’t know) a whole lot about Sanders, other than he is a tough guy,” Larson says. “Basically I’m going to go in there and fight my fight, take it to him and come out with the win.”
Larson was originally preparing for a rematch with WEC champion Carlos Condit. But when the WEC folded its welterweight division in December of 2008, Larson’s opportunity to fight Condit dissolved with it. Fortunately for Larson, he get to refocus his MMA journey on the biggest show of them all – UFC.
Larson had already been training for a planned rematch with Larson in March. So for his fight against Sanders, Larson has had the same training regimen.
“I was training to fight Carlos Condit for the WEC title so I had 25 min. rounds figured in there already,” he says. “When I found that wasn’t going to happen, I just continued with my training. No sense in regressing. It will be a fifteen minute sprint for me. He better be hanging on because it’s going to be a ride.”
Although his 24 wins have been quite impressive, it’s the two losses where Larson has learned the most about himself in MMA.
Larson’s first loss came at the hands of Jon Fitch back in UFC Ultimate Fight Night 2 back in October of 2005. Larson was outclassed by Fitch – who was in the midst of his 15 straight win streak – and was forced to go back to the drawing board and retool his striking game. Larson’s second loss would come against the man who is headlining UFC Fight Night 18 – Carlos Condit. That loss found Larson tapping to an armbar at the end of the first round.
“With Fitch it was a huge learning deal. I knew that I had to go back to work on my striking and focus a lot there,” he says when recalling his only losses in his MMA career. “With Carlos it was more of a shame on me thing. I kind of got excited and beat myself on that one. With that fight I learned that it’s okay to settle down and you don’t have to kill everybody in the first thirty seconds. I’ve learned more in both losses than any of my twenty wins.”
It’s going to be difficult for Larson to not look past Sanders (which he promises he won’t), but one has to wonder if the man with an impressive wrestling and jiu jitsu background is looking to avenge his losses in the UFC.
“I’ve trained to Jon when he fought GSP so I’m not really interested in fighting Jon. If it happens then it will happen. Not something I’m seeking out,” he says dismissively. “Carlos, I’m game anytime. Anytime anybody wants to give me a shot against him I’m willing to take it. That’s one that I would like back. I gave him that win, he didn’t earn that one.”
But first he must steamroll Sanders impressively on April 1st. He will more than likely have to outshine Condit in devastating fashion to catapult his name into the upper echelons of the 175-pound division.
“I think it’s going to be a first round crazy submission,” he says when predicting how his fight with Sanders will go. “It’s going to be something different that people won’t expect. It’s not just going to be your typical choke or submission. It’s going to be something a little bit different. I’ve been working on some stuff so I’m going to try something a little crazy.”
If things go his way on April 1st, could this be the year of the Brocks from Minnesota?
“The Brocks are going to make an impact. I’m just want everyone to wait and see what I’ve got,” he says of making an impact in 2009. “I’m looking to make a statement. I’m looking to just go through people and let the rest of the 175-pounders know that there’s a little guy from Minnesota who is ready to make a statement.”