Meet Larkyn Dasch, the Hooters waitress looking to capitalize on her Bellator 222 moment

When Larkyn Dasch steps out under the bright lights of the Bellator cage at Madison Square Garden, she’ll do so with an open mind, a steely determination and the belief that she cannot be broken.

Dasch (0-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) takes on taekwondo ace Valerie Loureda (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) in a preliminary-card bout Friday night at Bellator 222 in New York. And the Michigan native says her fighting spirit will shine through in her debut.

“She’ll have to kill me to win,” Dasch told MMA Junkie this week. “I won’t give up. I’ve only lost by decision. It doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll have to knock me out. If she knocks me out, good for her. But I have a gameplan, and I’ll fight with more heart than she will.

“That’s what I’ll bring to it. I’ll fight with more heart, and I think I fight with more heart than 99 percent of all female fighters.”

Dasch made headlines when the fight was announced after posting a photo of her signing her bout agreement while wearing her Hooters waitress gear. While some may have initially viewed it as a publicity stunt, Dasch said it was simply a result of circumstance rather than a PR move.

“I was working double shifts at Hooters all week, from morning to midnight, to free up time for me to make a planned trip to Nashville to visit family,” Dasch explained. “So I was working when my manager brought me the contract to sign. He came in, ordered food, obviously, and had me sign the contract right there while I was on the clock.”

Dasch, who is also a personality host for Radio Undercard, a boxing and MMA sports talk show in Detroit, admitted that while she follows Bellator, she wasn’t aware of Loureda’s emergence.

But, rather than ignorance, she explained that she makes a conscious effort to disconnect herself from potential opponents to help keep her mind clear of preconceptions before she steps into the cage.

“Actually, I have never heard of her,” Dasch said of Loureda. “I follow Bellator and the UFC, but at the same time I know there is the potential that I could one day end up fighting those girls. And I don’t like to know my opponents.

“I would rather my coaches tell me exactly what I’m supposed to do, give me a gameplan and then go in there not knowing who this girl is, because at the end of the day she’s just another female fighter who trains every day and has the same struggles that I do.”

Dasch’s approach might seem a little different than the norm, but that’s the 22-year-old’s style. Her Instagram bio features an inspirational quote that reads: “If you live life like everyone else, you’ll be just like everyone else.”

It’s a statement that she is directly applying to her career as she prepares to make a huge jump this weekend. Dasch was close to finishing her business administration degree and had just one semester remaining from her four-year course when she opted to drop out and chase her mixed martial arts dream.

“I was going to private college at the time, and when my friends heard what I had chosen to do, everyone thought I was crazy,” Dasch said. “But I basically told everyone: ‘I’m going for this. I can always go back and finish, but this is my opportunity, and I’m going to take it.’

“So I’m not doing what everyone else wants me to do or what everyone thinks I should do, or what everyone else is doing. Instead, I’m doing something completely different, and I’m hopeful that it will give me a completely different result.”

And that result, Dasch said, will be a spectacular one on Friday night in the Big Apple.

“I’m confident in my standup, I’m confident in my ground (game), and I’m confident in my ability to block kicks,” Dasch said. “I expect it to finish in a knockout.”

And for those wondering if she’ll be wearing the famous Hooters logo on her kit when she makes her way to the Bellator cage, don’t rule it out.

“That is still undecided,” she said. “We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do, but it could be that way. We’ll see.”

For more on Bellator 222, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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