Kenny Florian is one of the many faces who helped the UFC reached the level that it’s at today. While most fans and pundits credit Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar 1 or the trio of Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, and Randy Couture, rarely do they mention Florian, who competed on The Ultimate Fighter 1 and made it to the finals, has fought in multiple weight classes, has fought for the lightweight title twice, has headlined SpikeTV and PPV events, and has done his part to educate MMA fans with appearances on MMA Live.
On Saturday, October 8, Florian takes on top featherweight Jose Aldo for the featherweight title at UFC 136.
So far in his WEC and UFC career, Aldo has looked unstoppable, but that doesn’t faze Florian. He’s been in the big fights before and he knows what he has to do to win.
“I feel that I have the game and the style to give Jose a lot of problems.” Florian told Five Ounces of Pain in an exclusive interview. “I think I have more experience. As far as combining everything together, I think that’s the difference. That’s what it comes down to. It’s not one round of boxing, one round of jiu-jitsu, and one round of wrestling. I don’t like to say I do this or that better, I think I do everything well.
“My goal is to be better every day and that’s something I feel like I’m doing. We’ll see if I can put it together on Oct 8. I’m feeling very confident, training has never been better, and it’s just going out there and fighting.”
Putting it all together is something Florian has done in big fights. He holds victories over some of the best fighters in the sport, and is known for being a finisher. But when the pressure is on, he hasn’t always lived up to his skill.
Following his UFC 118 loss to Gray Maynard, UFC president Dana White stated that, “Florian chokes in big fights.” The loss was one of many disappointing moments in Florian’s UFC career. He lost to Maynard in his hometown of Boston, was choked out by BJ Penn in his second crack at the UFC lightweight title, was out-wrestled by Sean Sherk in his first title shot, and was finished by Diego Sanchez in the Ultimate Fighter finals.
But Florian didn’t mind Dana’s criticism, in fact, he took it was a compliment.
“I took Dana saying I choke as a compliment because it means he expects more out of me. The reality is that I could have fought better though. I expect more out of myself.
“Was it a case of me choking in big fights though? No,” said Florian. “Maynard was better that night.”
Often confused for Ben Stiller, when asked whether or not he would like to re-arrange the actors face so people would stop telling him how much Little Fockers sucked, Florian laughed and commented, “I find the most humor in people who think they are saying it for the first time. It’s really not that original but I try to make them feel good about it.”
He speaks multiple languages, he was a star soccer player in high school, and he could be working on Wall Street. Instead, Florian chose to be a fighter, and that’s all he wants to do, ending with, “What I do is train and fight. That’s what I love to do.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC