Lost in all the hype surrounding the historical UFC 100 event, is the fact that UFC 101 is offering up two amazing co-main event fights. One of which is for the UFC Lightweight Championship, where challenger Kenny Florian will take on current champion, BJ Penn. Florian recently spoke with Inside MMA on HDNet about his second shot at UFC gold.
“Not many people are giving me a chance,” Florian admitted. “They’re saying BJ is good everywhere, he’s got better jiu-jitsu, better striking, and that I’m not going to be able to take him down. And that’s why I’m so excited for this fight. It’s an opportunity for me to beat him on a technical level. I want to beat him with my skill, and I want the world to say that, wow, Kenny is taking it to the next level, and he is capable of beating great fighters and legends like BJ Penn.”
When asked about what it was like training with BJ Penn in the past and whether or not he felt it would help him for this fight, Florian said, “Training with BJ was a great experience. I got to train with one of the best fighters in the world at the time. And I do think it helps me just a little bit going into this fight, just to know what BJ is all about. I know he’s a much better fighter since than and I’m a much better fighter since then. And because of training with him in the past, I didn’t always want to fight him. But when he trained Joe Lauzon to beat me, I realized that, ok, this whole training and friends thing is kinda in the past and we’re gonna have to fight at some point.”
Kenny was also asked about training with current UFC welterweight champ GSP.
“Training with GSP was great, it doesn’t get much better than that. He’s one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. I always like mixing it up, going to different places to train. I think it helps me evolve as a fighter.”
Florian responded to whether or not training with GSP, who has fought and defeated Penn twice, would help him for his own fight with Penn, noting, “I kinda have my own strategies for beating BJ Penn. And I’m gonna have to do it Kenny Florian style, not GSP style. And the fight is at 155, not 170, and right now no one has been able to solve the puzzle of BJ at 155. I think it’s going to take a different style than GSP used.”
Florian was also asked about what he learned from his first title fight, where he lost to Sean Sherk.
“Immediately after that fight, aside from the technical mistakes I made, I realized that my intensity and focus needed to be that much greater. And in my fights afterward, I went in there not to fight my opponent, not to compete against my opponent, but to destroy my opponent,” Florian said.
Kenny “Ken-Flo” Florian will get his chance to “destroy” the opposition when he faces “The Prodigy” BJ Penn for the UFC Lightweight Championship on August 8th, at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA.