Bellator 193: Fernando Gonzalez Says He’s Ready for a Title Shot

Fernando Gonzalez, Bellator MMA
Fernando Gonzalez, Bellator 182. Credit: Mike McClory/Cageside Press

Fernando Gonzalez is ready for his shot at Bellator gold, but first, he’s got a tough test against Lorenz Larkin Friday night.

Bellator 193’s Fernando Gonzalez has a two-fight win streak built up in Bellator, and is in the main event Friday night in Temecula, CA. ‘The Menifee Maniac’ is fighting right in his own back yard for this one, and will have a sizeable cheering section in the crowd. In a 180lb catchweight bout against Lorenz Larkin, however, he has the toughest bout of his career ahead of him. Questions of weight cuts have dogged him as well, but Gonzalez says he’s made the necessary adjustments to put those questions to rest.

Gonzalez (27–14) has picked up back-to-back wins over Brandon Girtz and Brennan Ward. Speaking to Cageside Press, he discussed weight, title shots and more heading into the main event on Friday.

“I’ve had issues in the past, but like I said, I’m really fairly new to going at this professionally, full time” he explained. “We’ve had to make some adjustments, but I’ve obviously dialed in my body. I’m a lot leaner than I’ve ever been. Even if it’s at 180, you guys will see the difference in my body structure. After that, there should be no doubt that I can make 170.”

Fighting in Temecula, Gonzalez is just “10, 15 minutes” from where he grew up. Larkin is a native of Riverside, CA, about 45 minutes out. “I will definitely have the bigger advantage on how many people are here” he said. Noting that he invited all those who supported him in his early days on the fight scene, he added “I’m here now to show the world who I am.”

With an opponent like Larkin, Fernando Gonzalez will definitely get that chance. A lot of people will be watching to see how Larkin bounces back, after suffering two straight defeats to kick off his Bellator tenure. Larkin made waves when he signed with the promotion over his previous company, the UFC. He exited the UFC on a two fight win streak, with victories over top names in Neil Magny and Jorge Masvidal. His struggles in Bellator have gone a long way to proving that the talent discrepancy between the two promotions isn’t quite what some thought it was.

Still, what matters for Gonzalez is winning the fight, not the narrative. And fighting for the belt — now held by Rory MacDonald, who gutted out a win despite a gnarly leg injury last Saturday.

“I honestly believe I deserve a title shot, but it’s going to be up to them” Gonzalez said of the Bellator title picture. “Whoever they put in front of me, I’m going to knock down anyway. It doesn’t matter who it is. If it’s a title shot, you’re going to see me with a belt around my waist.”

The full press scrum with Bellator 193 headliner Fernando Gonzalez is below.

Fernando Gonzalez takes on Lorenz Larkin in the main event of Bellator 193 this Friday, January 26 in Temecula, California. The card is live and free on the Paramount Network.