Former middleweight finalist from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, Kenny Florian, stated on the most recent edition of ESPN.com’s “MMA Live” that he’d be open to the possibility of a rematch against the man who beat him in the final, Diego Sanchez.
“I don’t want to fight Diego Sanchez to get revenge,” Florian said while responding to an e-mail question from a viewer. “I want to fight him because he’s a great fighter coming down to 155. I try to forget about my wins (and) forget about my losses and just move forward. Diego Sanchez being the great fighter that he is coming down to 155 — it’s exciting to me. I get a chance to fight a great fighters and that’s why I’d like the fight.”
After Sanchez and Florian fought at the TUF 1 finale on April 9, 2005, the two fighters went their separate ways with Sanchez dropping to welterweight and Florian eventually migrating to lightweight. However, it was confirmed in recent weeks that Sanchez will be dropping from 170 pounds to 155 pounds for his next bout.
Sanchez, 19-2, last competed in the main event of the live finale for the seventh season of TUF this past June, where he TKO’d Luigi Fioravanti at 4:07 of round 3. He had been scheduled to face Thiago Alves at UFC 90 on Oct. 25 but was forced to pull off the card due to injury.
Florian, 11-3, is undefeated in his last six fights with his latest victory coming at UFC 91 in November, where he submitted Joe Stevenson at 4:03 of round 1. After the fight, UFC President Dana White confirmed that Florian is still next in line for the next lightweight title shot.
B.J. Penn is currently the promotion’s 155 pound champ but he is set to challenge for the UFC welterweight title against incumbent Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 on Jan. 31. If Penn is victorious, his next fight would be a welterweight title defense against Alves, meaning that the lightweight title would remain in a state of limbo. However, it’s also possible that Penn would vacate the 155 pound championship if he becomes the new welterweight champion.