Florian eyes ultimate revenge

Fight
fans have plenty of reason now to pay attention to The Ultimate Fighter reality
TV show. The new season stars Georges St. Pierre in September and before then
three of the major products of the show will take centre-stage in Mixed Martial
Arts contests this summer.

On
Saturday 3 July Chris Leben faces 11th-ranked middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama in
UFC 116 in Las Vegas. On 7 August 19th-ranked heavyweight Roy Nelson takes on
sixth-ranked Junior Dos Santos at UFC 117 in Oakland. From there fourth-ranked
lightweight Kenny Florian faces Gray Maynard on 28 August at UFC 118 in Boston.

Of
that trio Florian should be of most interest for locals. The Peruvian-American
was here last month leading a pair of MMA seminars on the arts of Muay Thai
kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (his specialities). Some 85 people turned
out to learn tactics and moves at the D Dalmain Ebanks boxing gymnasium.

Florian
covered a number of topics while in Cayman. Among them was his background in
The Ultimate Fighter show. As he states it’s a business endeavour first and
foremost.

“The
UFC is a business and like other sports franchises it needs high TV ratings,”
Florian said. “As long as it offers a fight show with a lot of drama and
produces a few guys who have a career in the UFC then it will continue to go on
in its current format.”

Four
years ago Florian missed out on a six-figure contract from Dana White after
losing the lightweight final to Diego Sanchez in the show’s first season. Since
then Florian, 34, has stated he would like to avenge the loss with a re-match.
In spite of Sanchez having moved up in weight class to the welterweight
division, Florian still seems keen for a fight. “I don’t have any hard feelings
that Diego went up in weight class,” Florian said. “I feel he’s not a
drastically different fighter. If he were to beat all of the top guys convincingly
then yeah I’d want to fight him again. At that point I’d feel like I have
something to prove.”

In
regards to his upcoming fight Florian faces a fighter in Maynard who is two
inches shorter at 5’8 and has a reach of 70 inches, four inches shorter than
Florian. Both are listed at the exact same weight of 155lbs. The founder of the
Florian Martial Arts Center states he could be six pounds heavier for the
fight.

“I
walk around at 175lbs and I cut weight to 161lbs for fights. There’s a difference
between cutting and losing weight. Cutting is a very drastic step that will mess
you up if you try to sustain it. You can go from very in-shape to very overweight
if you’re not careful.”

Aside
from the physical differences both bring differing fight styles to the octagon.
Florian has a background that sees a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu while
Maynard focuses on wrestling and boxing with a number of commendations during
his NCAA division one wrestling career at Michigan State University. Florian
says he is not bothered by Maynard’s styles.

“No
style is better than the other and no style is better for starting off with
than the other. It’s about how you use those styles. Remember guys know the
basic moves, counters and grapples and they know how you’ll try to take them
out so it’s about execution more than anything. I’ve seen guys transition from
great wrestlers to great strikers and vice versa. The biggest key is to keep
training and learning moves and improving. When you become stagnant that’s when
you’re in trouble.

“I’m
always looking for ways to improve. I’m all about getting into the gym and
working on my skills. I want to be able to step aside whenever it is I feel I
can’t give my best and be 100 percent in a fight.”

Just
before coming to Cayman news emerged that Ken Shamrock, a UFC pioneer and a
former pro wrestler, admitted to using steroids. He tested positive for three
different anabolic steroids last year for a MMA fight and had previously
admitted to using the substance during his wrestling career.

Florian,
who has never been linked to steroids in his career, said Shamrock’s case
proves the notion that steroids is an ongoing issue both in MMA and in all
types of sports.

“Steroids is a
problem in sports for example the NFL’s regulations haven’t changed much over
the years. I’m sure in the UFC there are some guys who actually do it. With the
standardized testing we have now that takes place at specific, preset times
that guys can plan for, it’ll be hard to prove that and catch those guys. Would
I like to see Olympic testing in our sport? Yes but the reality is it’s not going
to happy right now.”

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