Lightweight Kenny Florian accomplished more in his career than most of his peers ever will even if he never won a UFC championship. The well-rounded veteran was a finalist on the original Ultimate Fighter, competed in four different divisions, and picked up wins over a score of successful opponents. Unfortunately, Florian wasn’t given an opportunity to go out of the sport on his terms, suffering a back injury in the gym preventing him from continuing to train at a level necessary to compete inside the cage.
Though Florian has made a smooth transition from brawler into broadcaster as part of the UFC’s team, serving as a co-host on UFC Tonight and working alongside Jon Anik on commentary at Fuel TV/FX events, the 36-year old still has one regret from his time in the ring he’d like to set straight even if it is unlikely to ever come to pass.
“I really had a great career. Fighting a great guy like Clay Guida, a guy who I looked up to so much like Takanori Gomi was cool. Getting to fight a legend in B.J. Penn was awesome; a lot of great moments. Fighting one of the best pound-for-pound guys in the world, Jose Aldo. Those were big moments – wins and losses,” began Florian in an interview with the UFC’s website before explaining, “If there is one regret, I wish that I came to compete against Diego Sanchez. I feel like I beat myself before anyone else. I feel like I went out there and let the moment beat me. I don’t know what would have happened in that fight, but I didn’t compete; that was not me out there. I went out there and I was a nervous wreck. Before I knew what was happening, I was mounted and bloodied up. I wish that – if there was one thing I could take back – that I could just go out there and compete, and just fight him.”
Sanchez and Florian faced off on TUF 1 and the possibility of a rematch was teased during the former’s run at 155 pounds, a division he’s since announced his return to. However, it doesn’t look like “Ken Flo” will be following suit at any point soon if ever.
“Right now, coming back and fighting is not on my mind at all. (When I retired) it just wasn’t fun anymore. I couldn’t train the way I wanted, and if anything, if I had came back, I would have wanted to train harder. I’ve always done things to do it to the best of my ability, and I wasn’t able to be at my best,” said Florian before adding an encouraging update on his health. “In the last couple months, I’ve really started to improve. I’ve started to go through the rehabilitation process with a buddy of mine here in LA, Scottie Epstein, and he’s been very, very helpful in strengthening my back and the muscles around it to the point that I haven’t experienced that same pain, and I’ve been able to work out.”
Though his progress is great news, Florian was quick to make it clear that didn’t mean he would be making a comeback. Content with his current circumstances, Florian revealed he plans to spend time working on a blog at some point soon as well as other opportunities in the media. Regardless of whether he’s calling action in the ring or taking part in it himself, the future is certainly bright for Florian, and deservedly so after his contributions in and out of the cage as a great ambassador of MMA.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC