Florian determined to make 3rd title run count
Going into last Saturday’s UFC 131 card, Kenny Florian hedged his bets when asked if he planned on making a serious run at featherweight. To hear him tell it, the drop to Florian’s UFC-record fourth weight class was temporary, something he decided to do when his team of nutritionists said it was a possibility.
But in reality, Florian is gunning for UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. After his victory over Diego Nunes on Saturday, Florian seems to be primed for a title shot later in the year, and he now says he plans on sticking at featherweight for the foreseeable future.
It was the title shot Florian wanted all along, really. He went through the grueling process of cutting extra fat from an already lean body simply to earn another shot at the one thing that has eluded him throughout his fighting career – a chance to wear UFC gold around his waist.
“I want a shot at the belt,” he said. “I think Jose Aldo is one of the best fighters in the game, and I have a lot of respect for him. I’m a big fan, but I think every UFC fighter’s dream is or should be to be a champion and to test yourself against the best. He’s the best, and that’s what I want.”
When Florian stepped on the scale Friday night in Vancouver, comparisons were drawn to the drastic bodily change actor Christian Bale underwent in order to play the ever-so-slightly-insane Trevor Reznik in The Machinist. Bale lost 63 pounds in a matter of months by eating only salad and apples, and the end result was a man so far removed from his original look that it was difficult to see where he started.
Florian’s cut wasn’t quite so drastic, but he certainly looked like he hadn’t enjoyed the process of stripping away the tiny amounts of fat he had on his body. But in a strange way, Florian looked more powerful than he did at lightweight. Or maybe, as Florian says, he actually became more powerful – both mentally and physically – by dropping a weight class when many believed he couldn’t.
“I think honestly this whole weight cut and going down, it was a true test of discipline, and I think it took me to the next level as far as mentally and what I’m capable of doing,” he said. “After doing that, I think anything is easy.”
Florian’s next move is clear: he’ll go home and make up for the lack of food he’s ingested over the past three months. He hopes to celebrate a Stanley Cup championship win by his beloved Boston Bruins. But after that, he’ll begin preparations for what could be his final run at UFC gold.
It’s taken him four weight classes and a lot more years than he counted on, but he’s determined to make this one count.
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