After going the distance with current featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 136, “Ultimate Fighter” season one finalist Kenny Florian plans to return to the lightweight division. Florian looked a little sickly at 145 pounds, and it isn’t that surprising he’s decided to go back to 155.
“Dropping to the Featherweight division was way too much for my body to handle,” Florian said in a recent interview with Garrett Derr. “The Diego Nunes fight was the worst I’ve ever felt on a weigh-in day. Luckily, I felt better on fight day and was able to pull out a victory… But, against Aldo it was a brutal weight cut, and I really didn’t feel too great heading into the fight. In result, I had some medical issues I had to deal with. I had a thyroid issue that was based on the drastic weight loss. Those are the things you kind of ignore as a fighter, but it became very real to me after the fight. I’ll now be moving and staying at Lightweight.”
Despite the fact Florian hasn’t been able to win a title in the UFC; he’s certainly had a successful MMA career. An undersized Florian competed with middleweights in the original season of the “Ultimate Fighter” reality series, making it all the way to the finale.
Florian lost in the finale to Diego Sanchez, but he quickly got his MMA career back on track, winning his next three fights and earning a shot at (then champion) Sean Sherk. Florian lost via unanimous decision to Sherk, but he earned another title shot after putting together a six fight win streak.
BJ Penn became the second man to finish Florian, stopping him in the fourth round of their UFC 101 encounter. Ever since, some have questioned Kenny’s ability to perform in big fights.
Some have suggested that a move to Strikeforce will be best for the UFC veteran, but I doubt Florian will want to take the easy road to a belt.
When you consider the fact that only the very best MMA fighters in the world have been able to defeat Florian, there is no question he’s still one of the top lightweights around. As long as Kenny continues to work on his wrestling, he just might have a belt around his waist some day.