Interview with UFC Lightweight contender: Kenny Florian

By Percy Crawford


Interview with UFC Lightweight contender: Kenny Florian

The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 finalist!

PC: What’s been up Kenny? How are you doing?

KF: I’m doing good. I’ve just been training as always and hopefully looking for a fight in February.

PC: So you have something on tap for February?

KF: Yeah. That’s when I told the UFC I’m looking to come back. I’m in the process of moving and stuff like that so, January or February is when I’m looking to get back. I’m just waiting to hear back from them to see what they say.

PC: UFC 65 just wrapped up. What did you think of that card?

KF: It was good man. I’m really happy for George St. Pierre. George St. Pierre is a good buddy of mine, so it was great to see him do so well. Matt Hughes is a legend in mixed martial arts and the UFC and was a great champion. It’s kind of a stepping up of a new champion. It’s like a new era. He’s the new breed of fighter and I think the world is going to start to see guys that can do it all and in a dynamic fashion. It was good to see someone like George win. It was a long time coming and he’s going to be a great champion.

PC: You don’t look like a guy who would be fighting for a living and I’m sure you get that a lot. What got you involved in mixed martial arts?

KF: I do get that a lot. I’ve always done sports pretty much my whole life. I was always involved in some type of competitive sports. Ever since I could walk I’ve played soccer, tennis, baseball and hockey over here. I grew up in a family with 6 kids and I have 4 brothers, so I’ve pretty much been in a competition my whole life. I did martial arts as well and I just love the competition. I went from doing Brazilian Jujitsu, which is like grappling or wrestling, to trying all types of martial arts. Dana White was at one of the events and he was impressed and asked me to try out for this show called The Ultimate Fighter and the rest is history.

PC: On the show you showed a ton of heart and earned a lot of fans. How has being on the show helped your career?

KF: It helped big time. It opened us up to this huge region of fans that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. UFC and MMA in general was kind of misunderstood. I think being on the show showed how hard we train and how we dedicate ourselves to the sport. It was huge for the sport. Millions of fans were tuning in watching our fights from all over the world. They were able to watch our training sessions and how we dealt with each other in the house and all that stuff. It was huge for us and it was huge for the sport in general.

PC: At UFC 64 you dropped a hard fought decision to Sean Sherk. How have you recovered physically and mentally from that fight?

KF: Physically I had no problems, you know. I had some scratches on my face, but that was pretty much it. I was never hurt in that fight at all. He hit me with a few good elbows and that’s pretty much it. I was never rocked. I was fine throughout that whole fight. It was more of me just being frustrated with having someone on top of you the whole fight and he was able to control me. It was frustrating because I really should’ve fought better. I was glad the fans liked the fight, but I was very disappointed with the way I performed. I know I can fight much better than what I showed, but you know, that’s where the experience factor comes in. He had 40 fights and I had 10, so I know with the more fights I have, I can get back on track and get another title shot again. I’m optimistic. I was training a week after the fight helping my buddy Pete Spratt get ready for his next fight, so I was fine, just a little disappointed. There’s only one way to look though and that’s to the future. I want to learn from that experience and get back on track, you know?

PC: Looking back. What do you think you could’ve done differently to change the outcome of that fight?

KF: I showed up, but my wrestling didn’t. I think that was the difference, his ability to take me down and control me. There were some little things that he did on the ground that I wasn’t able to adjust to; some basic stuff. I should’ve realized he was doing it to me and I should’ve taken advantage. I think more than anything else it was his ability to take me down. I really should have been more technical there. I should’ve been fighting for those under hooks. I should’ve been sprawling better to avoid those takedowns. He was the better man that night because of that. He was able to control me and he did what he needed to do to win the judges decision. I knew he wasn’t going to be able to submit me or knock me out, but he definitely did what he had to do to win the fight. I was confident that I was going to be able to deal with 25 minutes. I trained my ass off for that fight, but you never know. It’s so different when you go in there for a fight. I was happy I was able to go 25 minutes with such a great fighter. I got maybe 3 to 5 fights experience out of that 1 fight. I learned a lot from it and it was a great experience.

PC: UFC 66 is right around the corner. How do you see the Liddell/Ortiz rematch playing out?

KF: It’s interesting. I think for Ortiz to win, he has to get Liddell on his back and keep him there and wear him down. Chuck has got dynamite in his hands. That guy can end a fight at any point. He’s got his game plan down too. He’s fought guys like Tito Ortiz already several times and he has the game plan to beat Tito. I think Tito has to be the underdog going into this. He’s got his work cut out for him. He’s really going to have to trade hands with Liddell at the right time in order to take him down and that’s going to be the game, but Liddell is just the master at that. He’s a guy that could really keep it on the feet. He’s got great wrestling and he has the footwork to avoid the take down and make people pay. I’m going to have to go Liddell man. I love both fighters, I really do, but I can’t bet against Chuck.

PC: How honored were you to be picked for the fight with Sherk, being that it was for the lightweight title which hadn’t been around the UFC for years?

KF: It was a great honor. It was a big step up for me. It was a dream come true. It was a dream just to be fighting in the UFC and to be in a world championship fight was an amazing experience. It’s always an honor for me to fight for the UFC and represent that organization. For me personally, looking back, I know that’s the fights I could win and that’s a level I could take my game too. It was really gratifying on a bunch of levels.

PC: I talked with Joe Stevenson and he thought you fought a great fight, but felt as though high altitude training would have done you some good. Is that something you would consider or do you not think that was a factor?

KF: Honestly, I was in good shape. I never felt that drained. It was times where I felt a little bit tired, but that’s normal. Whether you’re doing high altitude training or not you’re going to get tired at some point in a 25 minute fight. That’s something that I’m definitely going to experiment with in the future, but I’m not so sold on it. I’m not going to say it can’t help me because I’m sure it could help me. My wind is about as good as anybody in the game. Maybe it will help me. I can’t say until I’ve done it. I can’t say I was tired in that fight. My gas definitely wasn’t a factor.

PC: I appreciate your time Kenny. Is there anything you would like to say in closing? 

KF: That’s pretty much it man. If people want to check out my website, it’s I have a lot of good info over there and I have all my sponsors on that page. I have a lot of good info about the sport and myself. They could always check me out at I thank you guys for covering the sport and doing all you’re doing for the sport.


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