Sure there has been a war of words between lightweight top contender Kenny Florian and UFC champion BJ Penn, but deep down Florian has a lot of respect for Penn’s MMA game. He knows that he might have to take a beating in order to get there, but it will be well worth it to have the belt wrapped around his waist.
“I have a lot of respect for BJ as a fighter and what he’s done. He’s been an inspiration to me as well,” Florian said. “Look at what he’s done. From the jiu-jitsu world becoming a world champion and what he’s done in the UFC and the MMA world, and he’ll go down as one of the best ever.
“But on August 8th, you can’t respect your opponent. You have to respect his skills and disrespect his strategy, and go out there and play your game and take [BJ Penn] out.”
The two will clash this Saturday at UFC 101 inside the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA. It will mark the first time Penn has defended his strap since he defeated Sean Sherk at UFC 84 in May 2008.
It’s been a long time coming, but Florian definitely believes that he is ready for another shot at UFC gold.
“To be able to beat BJ would mean the world to me,” Florian said. “The challenge of testing your skills against a fighter like that, that’s what gets me excited. For me it would just be like ‘hey all this freaking work I’m putting in here, all the hours when no one was watching, all the times I was working out when everyone else was just hanging out, when I’m eating healthy and everyone else is eating like crap, all the hours, and all the sacrifice, the blood, sweat and tears; it wasn’t for nothing.’
“The belt will be for anyone who’s ever trained with me. It will be for my coaches. It will be for my family, my friends, and everyone who’s supported me.”
UFC 101: Declaration takes place this Saturday, August 8th in Philadpelphia, PA. The event will also feature a light-heavyweight clash between Anderson Silva and Forrest Griffin.