After making his third failed attempt to capture UFC gold this past October against featherweight champ Jose Aldo, UFC veteran Kenny Florian toyed with calling it a career. Given time to think it through, Ken-Flo decided to move back up to lightweight and reenter the fray, with a targeted return date of sometime in spring.
However, in greatly unfortunate news reported by the Boston Herald, a severe back injury the perennial contender suffered while bulking back up to compete at lightweight may have brought about Florian’s retirement imminently. The 35-year-old herniated a lumbar disc in November lifting weights, resulting in numbness and pain that’s lasted for the past two months. Speaking with the Herald, Florian explained that the decision to retire may have been taken out of his hands as a result of the injury.
“It’s possible, unfortunately. I’ve kind of been going back-and-forth with some of the doctors, so it’s possible,” Florian said of being forced to hang up his gloves. “I’m going to see. As of right now, obviously I can’t compete and train like I was at all. I’m just kind of doing what I can and hoping that things heal up and get better. I’m just kind of in a holding pattern. That’s why I decided to do this commentary for the time being and take this next six months to really heal up and try to make some money on the side. It sucks. The last couple of months I’ve just been figuring out what’s going on and what I’m going to do.”
Though the injury casts doubt over the future of Florian’s career, the end is not set in stone. Admitting that things look grim now, Florian said that he’s allowing for some hope that he can recover and soldier on.
“It’s not good,” he leveled. “That’s why I’m trying to stay hopeful. We’ll see. I’ve been out here in (Los Angeles) doing this show every week for ‘UFC Tonight’ for Fuel TV and doing some other things. I’m just hoping that it can heal up and get better and then see if I can go back to doing what I was doing. So far, I still need to rest. If I go to do something physical, I’m just not able to do it. That pain is coming back.”
Florian currently sports a 14-6 record, having consistently competed against the best in the world from middleweight to featherweight in the UFC.