UFC lightweight contender Kenny “Ken-Flo” Florian is poised to take on fellow top contender Gray Maynard this weekend at UFC 118 in a bout that UFC President Dana White recently revealed could lead the winner to a title shot. That would be an opportunity that Florian, who recently spoke with MMAWeekly Radio detailing his upcoming bout and desire to fight for the belt again, said he would welcome with open arms.
On the same card that Florian will contend for a shot at the belt, current champion Frankie Edgar will look to hold on to the belt that he took from former champion BJ Penn. Florian said that he has no preference between the two, that he only wants the belt.
“I really would like to fight for the belt.” Florian said. “I don’t have a preference. I want to fight the best guy, whoever wins, that’s who I want to fight. Frankie, if he wins this fight, you can’t say it’s a fluke this time. If he beats B.J. Penn for a second time, he proves he’s the No. 1 fighter in the world at lightweight. There’s no doubt about it. If B.J. Penn wins then he showed ‘hey, I had an off night that night. I am the best in the world. I’m the most dominant lightweight champion of all time. I’m the champion,’ and then I get to fight him. Regardless, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Florian fought Penn for the belt one year ago and was soundly defeated by the Hawaiian scrapper. The Brookline, Massachusetts native told MMAWeekly that he isn’t about to make excuses for the loss but that he believes a rematch would now go differently.
“We all go into fights with excuses, and problems, and whatever, and it’s up to the fighters to go out and execute. And B.J. was the better man, that’s it,” said Florian. “A lot of people say they don’t want to see a B.J. Penn/Kenny Florian rematch. Kenny got blown out of the water against B.J. Penn. Well, I’m a different fighter. I’m a different guy. I’m not going to go and talk about excuses. B.J. Penn was a better man that night, but we’ve seen guys improve, and I’m a different fighter.”
Florian also told MMAWeekly that his motivation these days comes from the desire of wanting to prove to himself and to the world that he is the best lightweight fighter competing.
“It’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another thing to do it,” Florian said. “I just want to go out there and do it. I just want to go out there and fight, fight the best guys, and prove it. Prove it to myself more than anything else.”
Florian and Maynard will meet this Saturday at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts at UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn II to see who will meet the champion that emerges on the same night. Boxing veteran James Toney and UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture will also meet on the card in a bout promoted as pitting boxing vs. MMA in a test of superiority.