As if jumping into the cage and fighting another human being in close combat for the first time wasn’t pressure enough, when Kirk Florian makes his amateur debut at Full Force Productions: Untamed 22 show in Plymouth, Mass. against Colin Joyce (1-0), he’ll have some big shoes to fill. He’s the younger brother of UFC lightweight phenom Kenny Florian.
I recently sat down and talked with Kirk about his debut, his family, his training, etc. Like many younger siblings of sports stars, Florian doesn’t want to be thought of as just following in Kenny’s MMA footsteps. In fact, he doesn’t even want a career in MMA.
“I really don’t feel as though I’m making a full transition into MMA as far as making it a career right now.” said Florian. “It’s something I want to do just to do. I’ve been working full time for the past 4.5 years and now I’m just looking towards a goal. You do the same thing for so long and you get tired of it. After work I go train and I’m looking forward to this goal of working out real hard and getting in the cage and fighting. As of right now I’m not looking at it as something I want to do full-time, so as far as pressure, I don’t really see it that way. I just look at it as a test for myself to see what I can really do. Obviously, having the last name makes people pay attention to me and expect more. I try to just block that out and just view it as a test of myself. I know Kenny and how well he does, I know who he is but I know who I am. Obviously there are differences between us. I’m going to go out there and try to do my best, that’s what it’s all about for me. I’m looking at this as a personal test and a personal journey.”
As far as his personal strengths are concerned, Kirk, much like Kenny, is well versed in grappling and Jiu-Jitsu, but isn’t afraid to stand either.
“I try to have a well rounded game.” says Florian. “Obviously my background is jiu-jitsu because that was the first martial art that we studied and that is something that as of right now comes pretty natural to me. However, with the evolution of Kenny over the past few years, obviously I’ve paid great attention to that as well. I’m really trying to focus on MMA, and not only boxing, or only wrestling, or only jiu-jitsu. I’m trying to really put it together and become as well-rounded as I can as fast as I can and there’s no better teacher in the world than Kenny to do that for me. He’s helped me out a lot as well as my other brother Keith. My strength is jiu-jitsu but I’m not going to go in there with one game plan. I want to go in there and mix it up and be a true mixed-martial-artist.”
Being the younger brother of a fighter, Kirk is obviously no stranger to MMA, or being around a cage. Of course, it’s a whole different experience being in the cage rather than watching from the crowd. Florian remains positive about his debut, and reacting to being in front of an audience.
“To be honest with you, I have no idea. I have no idea how I’ll react to the crowd, how I’ll react to looking at my opponent. I can only defer to my grappling days. I’ve been grappling people much heavier and older than me since I was a kid. I’ve competed against adults locally since I was 14. I do recall since maybe my second tournament that something that something does happen with me, I’ll get nervous beforehand, I’m at the facility and I get a little less nervous, then when the referee says “go”, I’m in robotic mode. It just hits me, “ok Kurt, it’s time to go” but I haven’t competed in grappling in I don’t know how many years. It’s been a while for me. As far as getting there, seeing the crowd, walking out there. I really can’t tell you how I’m going to react. I’ll just try to stay as calm and composed as I can. I want to have as little feeling and thoughts as possible. Over thinking is how people get in trouble.”
Check out the full Fight Card for Full Force’s Untamed 22 at FullForce.tv
Also, keep up on everything Florian by visiting Florian Martial Arts Center.
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