Perennial contender Kenny Florian has challenged for a UFC championship title on three separate occasions, twice at lightweight (against Sean Sherk and BJ Penn, respectively) and once at featherweight (against Jose Aldo), and has come up short each time, somehow never looking as good as he did on the initial climb to the top.
This has led to some deducing that Florian chokes under pressure, but the twenty fight veteran (who’s also competed as high as middleweight) doesn’t see it that way. Florian thinks there were several factors that have led to his failure to capture a UFC title so far, but that he absolutely possesses the skill to get the job done under the right circumstances.
His recent foray into the 145lbs. weight class, for example, netted him a quick title shot due to the division’s lack of contenders, but the weight cut left him a shell of himself. He looked flat in both of his featherweight outings, in victory over Diego Nunes and in defeat to Jose Aldo.
“Dropping to the featherweight division was way too much for my body to handle,” Florian recently told Bleacher Report. “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.”
Back at his natural weight, Florian intends to let his body mend completely before jumping back into the thick of things in a final attempt to earn a UFC title.
“I feel that I have all the skills to get it done,” Florian said. “I’ve had different issues over the course of my career, but I’m capable of doing it. It’s just going out there and getting it done. I have some injuries I’m going to let heal for the next two months. Once those things clear up, I’m looking forward to getting back on the race to the title.”
Florian last appeared in action at UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III on October 8 against Aldo, to whom he dropped a unanimous decision.